What to Expect From a Co-Worker Who Becomes a Supervisor

Try to be happy for your co-worker turned boss.

Try to be happy for your co-worker turned boss.

If your work friend just became the new boss, there's no easy way around it because your relationship is going to change. It's perfectly understandable if you feel a little jealous or resentful, since it isn't easy to start taking orders from someone who used to be your equal. Take a private moment to process your emotions, and then welcome your new supervisor with congratulations, compliance and support.

Professional Distance

Now that your co-worker is wearing the boss' hat, she’ll likely need to put some distance between you. It isn’t that she doesn’t like you anymore, she just needs to set clear professional boundaries that all her employees -- including you -- must respect. That means no more two-hour lunch breaks or happy hour on Wednesday nights. She may even unfriend you on Facebook.

Mum's the Word

Maybe you and your co-worker used to chat about the latest office gossip, but she can’t laugh about Kathy’s bad haircut or Morgan’s smelly cologne now that she’s in charge. She also can’t dish the inside scoop on the company merger, or give you a sneak preview of the new sales campaign before next week’s meeting, so don’t ask.

Change in Values

Not only will your supervisor stop being your partner in crime, she’ll probably ask you to clean up your act as well. You can’t pretend like you don’t know what she’s talking about either, since she knows you don’t really need to leave two hours early on Fridays to pick your son up from school, and she knows you’re really playing Tetris when you pretend to be researching sales trends. She wasn’t held accountable for your actions before, but now that she is, she can’t let you slide. If you want to stay in the game with your new boss, you’re going to have to play by the rules.

No Special Treatment

Your co-worker might have had your back in the showdown between other department sections, but she’s the boss now. Don’t expect any more preferential treatment, because she can’t take sides. As a supervisor, she has to treat all her employees with the same respectful impartiality.

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About the Author

Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.

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