You had a clique at work. You commiserated over coffee, especially over how unfair things are at work and engaged in more than just a bit of gossip over the higher ups. You showed up after a two-hour lunch, taking comfort in numbers and took liberties with the company’s time. And then, the promotion you had been gunning for came through and the first feeling is excitement.
But it is quickly followed by trepidation because the balance of power has suddenly shifted. Not only do you know where your colleagues were when they show up an hour late after lunch, they also expect you to aid and abet their behavior. Very quickly you realize that you need to start engaging on a different level with your former co-conspirators. But what is the balance between carrying out your new role and not making enemies?
If you had to choose one, would you rather be respected or liked? As women, we want to be liked in every facet of life, but in the workplace being liked without being respected can easily work against you. Pay attention to being effective and delivering on your new KPIs. Keep in mind that whether you address the favors colleagues expect from you now or later, you will eventually have to. It will not be an easy conversation but the sooner you get used to having difficult conversations, the better. Phrase the communication in the context of being fair to everyone on the team, avoiding favoritism and being a good role model.
The very first thing to do if you know you want to rise up the ladder in any workplace is to position yourself for the role. That means not taking any liberties with the company’s time and resources that you would frown upon if your direct reports were doing. There are many ways of staying connected with your colleagues that do not involve churning the rumor mill and showing up to work hours late.
Your role is now largely predicated on listening and learning more than speaking. Spend a considerable amount of time learning the nuances of the role and how to make things work better, and resist the urge to introduce changes before you truly understand the environment you are operating in.