It happened to me. I was an award-winning sales rep who was promoted to sales manager. Now my colleagues (and friends) were reporting to me. I knew them well and thought we would be a winning team. Boy, was I wrong!
A Rocky Start
Becoming the boss wasn’t easy or much fun … at least not at first. I had to set goals with each person and hold them accountable for meeting their quotas. I was no longer anyone’s friend. One person yelled at me, and she finally quit.
In hindsight, I probably didn’t set realistic expectations for our new relationship, and maybe I was too demanding. I was also promoted without any training or guidance.
A Smooth(er) Transition
I will never again underestimate the significance of a rep-to-manager transition. In fact, I would go so far as to say that managing the same group of people who once worked alongside you is a bad idea. But sometimes those are the cards you get dealt.
If you do transition, take to heart these five tips from the editors at Selling Power:
- Be highly observant.
- Be empathetic.
- Get help where you need it.
- Let go.
- Resist the urge to fix mistakes.
Read the rest of the article for more on how to transition smoothly.
Also, remember to give yourself a break. Change isn’t easy, and it always comes with a learning curve. Just be patient with yourself and your team as you learn the ropes.
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If you’re a sales manager, what important lessons did you learn when you first got promoted?