How Do I Make the Switch From Employee to Manager Without Seeming Bossy to My Former Peers?

Three ACS Career Consultants say to do so with humility and to encourage feedback
Industry Matters Newsletter
Natalie Lafranzo
Natalie LaFranzo, Vice President - Market Development, Cofactor Genomics

Navigating the transition with humility and openness to feedback is key. Leveraging the skill sets of your former colleagues (now direct reports) and acknowledging their contributions publicly and privately will help you earn their trust. 

Andrea Alexander
Andrea Alexander, Technical Service & Development Manager, Shin-Etsu Silicones of America

Being a leader isn’t about asserting authority; it may be necessary in certain situations, but is not an effective leadership style. Effective leadership is about providing direction and the tools for your team to succeed. Though you do have a larger amount of responsibility and are ultimately accountable for any shortcomings that may occur, it is your job to bring out the best out in your team. Everyone should understand their role, be sure to make it clear that you respect what they bring to the table, and that it is not your intent to lord over them (in a sense). Negative feelings are usually borne from lack of trust. When employees know you truly have their best interests at heart and they are valued, the perception of bossiness is a non-issue. 

Norton Peet
Norton Peet, ACS Career Consultant

Make the switch with humility. Do not brag about the promotion or suggest that you were chosen because you were better in some respect than your colleagues. Sit down in an informal setting, over a bag lunch, or drinks after work, and speak openly about the relationship that you wish to foster with each of your direct reports as their manager. 

This article has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.

ACS Career Consultants are experts and leaders working in the field of chemistry who have volunteered to support other ACS members’ career development through one-on-one career counselling. They can stimulate your thinking, ask important career planning questions to help clarify goals, provide encouragement, teach strategies for making meaningful career decisions, and aid you in your job search. Connect with an ACS Career Consultant today!

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