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I have moved up positions very fast. Next, I was hoping for the assistant-to position in my department, but my superiors have selected me to replace the outgoing department head. I know this will cause hard feelings, etc. How do I salvage relationships with the "left behind" folks?

WillDuke's picture

I suppose it depends on what you mean by salvage. Your relationships with them will never be the same. Period. You're the boss now.

That being said, are they really "left behind?" That seems a condescending comment. That attitude will haunt you.

Be honest and fair with your people. Treat them with respect. Show them your commitment to them. Show them you are on their side, looking out for their best interests. When they believe that, they'll follow you into the breach.

How do you do that? O3s, Feedback, Coaching... :)

terrih's picture

If the process your superiors used to select you is perceived as fair (for instance, everyone who was interested had a chance to apply for the position), the hard feelings should subside, I would think.

If there is a perception that something in the process was UNfair, you have a tougher row to hoe... and Will's advice holds all the more.

I've been there, and one mistake I made was trying to change people's feelings about what happened. I felt they were misperceiving things; but it's no good trying to talk people out of how they feel. It comes down to Horstman's Law #7—"How you feel is your fault"—and its corollary, how [u]they[/u] feel is NOT your fault.

For what it's worth, in my situation, the hard feelings were directed at the superiors who made the decision, not at me. :)

Don't apologize for your success! Show yourself to have been the right choice.

UP2L8's picture

Thank you Will and Terri. Your comments are very helpful. I will try to incorporate them.

Mark's picture

Congratulations on your successes.

We believe short term results are based often on individual skills and performance, but long term performance are based on team and organizational accomplishments, facilitated by strong professional relationships.

Don't talk about your promotions. Talk about results and relationships, in your one on ones, and through feedback and coaching.

Are you doing one on ones now?

Mark