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5 Ways to Make a Smooth Transition to a Management Role

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Congratulations -- you're moving up a rung on the office ladder. The title change and bump in salary are great, but how do you manage people who used to be your contemporaries? Even though you're the boss now, you were a friend first, and a botched transition can quickly inspire enemies. We checked in with experts who weigh in on the best ways to navigate a new management role.

1. Communicate on a personal level with every member of your team.

Your ability to make this transition effectively can propel your career in a very positive way, but failure to do so can really hinder it, says Chad Oakley, president and COO of Charles Aris, a global executive search firm.

"The only way you can move up is if other people want to follow you and are positive about you and your leadership," Oakley says. "You've got to sit down and listen to them and make your agenda a joint agenda."

The truth is, your new role represents change and uncertainty to the people who work for you -- even your allies may feel unsure of what to expect from you now that you're the boss, says Morag Barrett, CEO of SkyeTeam, an international HR and leadership development firm.

"Sit down with people one on one and address their concerns. What will be different? What will stay the same? What will they expect from you? Get those elephants and stinky fish out onto the table where you can address them," she says. 


Also, never underestimate the power of letting people know you are still a team -- even if you've moved up.

"Say to them, 'I want to be our joint champion for doing all the things we could have done better, I want us together to improve things for our company and our team,'" suggests Oakley.

2. Remember -- it's the job that changed -- not you.

You are taking on a whole other level of representation of the company, and you have to be consistent, but you don't have to be a different person, says Shawnice Meador, director of career management and leadership development for MBA@UNC.

"Let your former peers who are now your subordinates know what your expectations are, but also let them know you're still a friend. You may need to separate yourself from water cooler gossip, but you're still the same person you always were," Meador says.

The worst thing you can do is go into the role with an immediate directive -- an "I am going to tell you what to do" platform, Oakley says.

"You're going to ruin your friendships with people if you take that approach, and they're not going to support you as a manager," he says.

Keep in mind that because you moved up and your friends didn't, it's almost inevitable that there will be some hurt feelings, Meador says. They need to know they can still count on you, even though you've taken on a new set of responsibilities that you're taking seriously.

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