Being Promoted to Your Boss’s Level

Congratulations! You make more money and things are awkward.

You work incredibly hard, and truly care about your company. When a big management position opens up, you’re ready for it and submit your resume. You ace the interview (perhaps thanks in part to our handy tips), and now you’re a manager!

There’s only one problem: that means your previous boss is now just a regular co-worker. How do you act? What can you say? Is it all right to ask them to meet deadlines?

Here are our tips on turning a former boss into a colleague.

Before: Tell Them You’re Interested in the Position

If you’re interested in applying for a management position, let your manager know before you submit an application. Even if they aren’t your favorite person, it’s important they know you might be moving on (since that will mean, among other things, filling your old position).

This is also a chance to talk about your plans for the new job, and to leave things on good terms. They’re losing a stellar employee, so try to make this as easy for them as possible.

Accept Your New Role

It takes a while to learn the ropes, but once you know your position, accept that you earned it. Not sure what that means?

When you’re promoted to your boss’s level, there can be a tendency to think you don’t deserve it. Some call this imposter syndrome. You experienced having them as your manager, and it is difficult to reframe your new role in your mind. Instead of being your singular boss, they are now one of many colleagues. This means no preferential treatment for them, and no special expectations. They have deadlines just like everybody else, and you can’t upend projects to prioritize whatever it is they need done. Once you see yourself as a manager, your used-to-be boss will, too.

If Problems Arise: Contact Your (New) Manager

Most managers will be fine with their employees moving up the career ladder. After all, if their direct reports were good enough to get promoted, they were supposedly the ones who helped them get there!

However, there are managers that like keeping their great employees under them. They might rely on them to get certain things done, or not want to interview new recruits. This can cause a certain amount of bitterness once you get promoted.

They might start being passive aggressive, or, even worse, wanting you to fail. This is a problem. First, try to reason things out with them, since you’re equals now. If that doesn’t work, and the behavior continues, contact your new manager or HR. You want to do a great job, and nothing should get in the way of that.

At the end up the day, you deserve to be happy! You got an awesome new job. Congrats, and we can’t wait to see what you do next.

Have you ever been promoted to the same level as your boss? How did it go? Let us know in the comments section below.

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