Posted July 7, 2020 by Mark Perna
Whether you’re now managing your friend or the other way around, here are some tips. Mark’s article, “That Moment When One Friend Is Promoted—And The Other Is Not,” published at Forbes.com on July 1, 2020.
Workplace friendships are part of a healthy professional life, but like everything else at work today, they can change quickly. A new study asks the question: What happens when one friend gets promoted—and the other doesn’t?
ResumeLab surveyed more than 1,000 employees uncovers insights on how people transition from workplace peers to manager and subordinate. Nearly 44% said they or a friend became the other’s supervisor, and this number will only rise as older generations continue to retire. Millennials are stepping into the ranks of management, with 62% of this generation now managing direct reports.
Chances are, if you haven’t yet experienced a promotion in the context of a work friendship, you will. Here’s how others have handled it—and some tips to make a positive experience for everyone.
Fully 50% of the respondents admitted feelings of jealousy over their friend’s promotion. But afterward, nearly 69% said the friendship stayed the same. Some (14%) even reported that the relationship improved after one person was promoted, while 17% reported the opposite.
Newly promoted managers not only have to learn their new role, but they also have to navigate new relational dynamics—some of which may already be turning sour. Forty-five percent said they changed the way they spoke to their friends after becoming their boss. Establishing authority over their new subordinates was their greatest challenge (38%), followed by resolving conflict (31%), reprimanding (30%), coaching (22.1%) and receiving constructive feedback (19.4%).
Almost 37% of new managers felt undermined by a workplace friend, and 16% of respondents confessed they had actively undermined their new boss. More than one in ten new managers had to fire a workplace friend.
Managing or being managed by a workplace friend can change the relationship, no doubt about it. The following tips can help you keep moving forward in your career—before, during and after a promotion.
A power shift in the office brings a whole slew of adjustments, and while many factors in the situation are out of your power, you do have control over your own response. The bottom line is this: Stay professional, focus on your goals and keep moving forward—no matter what side of the promotion you’re on.