First of all congratulations on getting your promotion.
Did you compete against one or more of your coworkers to win the job?
And now they’re mad because you won and they lost?
Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that you can’t really manage whether a few of your coworkers are mad at you for winning the promotion. And if you try to discuss their feelings of anger is likely to make the situation even worse.
But the good news is that you can help them to past their hurt feelings and repair the relationship.
Here are four steps to conduct a conversation with your coworkers:
Step 1: Be emphatic but don’t get trapped into a conversation about their feelings. If you start talking about why they’re angry, they’re likely to say upsetting things like “you’re not qualified to be my manager” or “I’ve always performed better than you” or “you got the job because you’re a suck up”.
If you try to defend yourself, you’ll probably say nasty things like “you’re obviously not as good as you think you are” or “I guess the bosses don’t think you have management skills.” The end result of such a conversation is that there will be lots of hurt feelings. You’ll end up spending your days trying to repair the situation instead of succeeding at your new manager job. Instead, direct the conversation to the next three steps.
Step 2: Talk about the goals the team has to achieve, both for your company and your customers. When people have something to think about besides their own feelings, their energy can be directed more productively. Besides, you were promoted to achieve certain things, and regardless of any hurt feelings, those things still have to be realized.
Step 3: Ask them about their career aspirations. Just because they didn’t get this particular promotion doesn’t mean that they can’t get future management promotions.
Step 4: Talk about their career goals and think about ways you can help them position their career in the right direction. Remember you’re the manager now. That means you have access to resources, people, training, etc. that can help employees develop and grow.
The same applies for all of your employees. So if you can think of this irritated former coworker the same way you’d think about any other employee that comes to you and says ‘I’d like to be a manager someday,’ you’ll be fine.