What to say to your friends at work when you get a promotion?

Workplace Manners
21 Oct 2022

True friends do not lie to each other, no matter what the talking point is. Honesty forms a strong foundation of any friendship. When there is some good or bad personal news to be shared, your friends would, no doubt, empathize with you. However, if it is an event that changes your position at the workplace, like a promotion or a major hike, it might be a little tricky to share this news with your friends at work. So, how do you tell your friends at work that you got a promotion?  

While your friend at work may be aware of the fact that you were trying to get promoted and were working hard for it, he or she still may not take the news as well the first time they hear it as you may expect them to, because it puts you above them. This scenario would be worse if they get to hear about your promotion from someone else and not you. Not only will your friend feel rejected professionally, but may be personally too. 

When in most cases, the manager or boss announces to the whole team when a member gets promoted, it is better to take your friend aside before this announcement is made, and tell him or her about the promotion, if the situation permits. Make sure your friend is not taken by surprise by the news. 

How to tell them:

Be subtle

While it is important to tell your friend at work that you got a promotion, it is also important to say it in a way not to hurt your friend's feelings. Make sure you convey that you want that friend to be part of the celebration and that you want them to be happy and comfortable with the fact. Say something like - "Hey, I have some news! I got that much-awaited promotion. So let me take you out for drinks and dinner today?" 

Be kind

Do not make a rude, impolite gesture. Don't walk past them and put a quick word in, like, "Hey, you know what! I got a promotion! Hah!"

Don't rub it in

If you do this, you are not really a friend. It is the worst if you rub your happy news in your friend's place and show them how you got promoted over them and how you would be their boss now. 

Don't gloat

Yes, you are happy with the promotion. But this is no time to gloat, and certainly not in front of your friend. 

What to do next 

Be Professional

Once you've told your friend about the promotion, explain what is expected of you in your new role. You must establish a clear boundary between work and friendship in your new role, which may be quite challenging. In your new role, you will have to treat everyone with equal respect. You should be fair and not be biased towards your friend. Both you and your friend have the responsibility to remain professional so other employees don't feel you manage them differently. 

Understand the implications of your new role

With the new role that you got, you will have to stop worrying about the nitty-gritty of your regular work. Stop micromanaging every task. You will have to stop thinking about what others think about you, and look at the bigger picture and also think long-term. You are now in a position of authority and must detach yourself from people who used to be your peers. At the same time, you should not be so aloof that your team members cannot come and talk to you freely and give you constructive criticism. Know that sometimes you'll have to be tough, sometimes you'll need to make decisions not everyone is going to like. Other times you'll need to step back and listen. 

Be fair in your performance appraisals

While you may be tempted to give your friend an outstanding performance appraisal for their promotion, don't be biased. Stick to the facts. As you already have a close friendship anyway, you should be able to discuss professional matters in an open, honest way. If you want what's best for your friend, then set high expectations for the person and what they can achieve.  

Do not stop being a friend

If you see that your friend is having a hard time adjusting to your new role as manager, address the problem and talk to them. After all, they are your friend. As a manager, it is also your duty to make your team members feel comfortable with you as their boss. Though your work dynamic has changed, you are still friends and you should be able to talk to each other about any issues that anyone is facing. It's important to remember that you both have a role within the organization. If friction between the two of you begins to impact performance or professionalism on either side, you may need to consider involving HR to find a solution. That said, on-going and open discussions between the two of you about their performance and performance expectations can mediate that need. 

Make both your equations work, and work well

You may also find it difficult to be your friend's boss. You may not be able to point out at their mistakes more freely and would find it difficult to talk to them if they are taking too many leaves. However, as a boss, you may need to have the tough talk. Your friend should also understand his or her responsibility and what you expect out of them.

Also, while it may not be easy, these things can apply to you as well. Being in the good books when a promotion is given to you, it's easier said than done. When a friend gets promoted over you, try not to let the green bug bring you down. 

There's always going to be a bitter feeling in your mind that tells you that you weren't good enough and that they probably didn't deserve it, but ignore these words and focus on what you can get out of the situation. Learn how you can improve and use this for your advantage. 

Progress is not necessarily measured with rank but with fortitude, and when best to check it than when a friend is promoted and your ego may be at the brink of hurt? Always take things positively, even if the odds are against you.

Therefore, while it may take time for the two of you to adjust to this new work dynamic, the best thing you can do on your part is to ensure that you are honest with your friend from the start and that above all you act fairly towards both your friend and the team you're now leading.

These are a few ways to tell your friends at work that you got a promotion.

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