Despite the fact that I often talk about attaining raises and promotions in your career, I don’t often discuss their ramifications to both your work and your personal life. The fact is, when you move into an expanded role, especially a managerial role, the expectations of those around you are going to rise. Each new position brings about a new level of control and commitment. If you ignore this, your transition into the new role can be more difficult than it should be.
It is important to remember that when you receive a promotion or a raise in pay, you are accepting new roles and new commitments. You might not think it at first, but your manager is going to expect something more in response to your new status. Promotions and raises aren’t so much a reward for past service, but more an incentive for future services. Managers are going to expect you to “step up to the plate” and take a more active role in projects and day-to-day issues. Unfortunately, though, they often don’t take the time to explain exactly what their new expectations are. Too often, they simply assume that you will know how to take on the new role, even though it hasn’t been well defined or, perhaps, even described to you.
In order to keep your career on track, you need to take the initiative to clearly define any increased expectations. This can range from the simple realities of new meetings you should be attending to the specifics of who you should be supervising and mentoring within your group. Have this important conversation with your manager as soon as possible after your new promotion is announced. Otherwise, you will find yourself in a sort of limbo between positions.
I am sure you have seen newly minted supervisors who spend their first few weeks wandering around in a daze, trying to figure out their new place in the organization and the expectations of those around them. You want to insure that your transition is as smooth as possible, though, so you can start being effective in your new role from the very first day.
Beyond your official work role, there are more subtle expectations that can effect your work life. These can be even more troublesome than the issues above, as there are fewer guidelines available to you and they can have an insidious effect on your work life if they are ignored.
First, there are expectations about who you will associate with in your new role. I am sure you have heard stories about rank-and-file workers suddenly elevated to a supervisor or manager role. Suddenly you are no longer one of “us”, you are now one of “them”. This can be a crushing blow for some people, as it removes the work support structure carefully built over the years. Worse still, this happens before you have built any sort of support structure in your new role. You can feel adrift as you try to navigate the passage between the two. That said, you need to understand the unique culture of your company. In some cases, there won’t be a problem with you continuing to lunch with your former peers. In other companies, this will be seen as a social faux pas of the highest degree.
Second, the subtle cues of work attire are almost sure to be an issue. Jeans and polo shirts might have been appropriate in your past position, but now, suddenly you are elevated into the world of suits and ties. Again, it depends on your individual company, but you are well advised to be aware of these expectations, as well. While I personally detest the affectations of business dress codes (perhaps this is one reason I work for myself), you ignore them at your peril.
Finally, not only will expectations rise in your new role, but you should also expect them to rise. It only makes sense that new positions will bring more and different responsibilities. Any attempt to ignore this fact will hamper your transition into your new role and could derail your career entirely. While your work performance is certainly the most important part of your career, you must also deal with the more subtle world of the expectations of those around you.