Just been promoted? Remember that a key part of your success in your new job lies in helping your employees achieve their potential.

Share story

Being promoted to a management position may sound like good news — more money! more power! — but it has its downsides, too.

For one thing, many companies do not supply sufficient management training. You are often simply expected to cope. (If you are wondering why so many bosses are bad bosses, this is probably why.)

For another, you may feel uncomfortable in a position of authority, especially if you are now supervising colleagues who used to be your equals.

Here’s what you need to remember: Authority comes from the belief that it is OK for you to instruct, direct and correct people. You get that self-belief by remembering that a big part of your new job is going to be helping your employees achieve their potential.

In fact, when you are a manager, you have two responsibilities. One is to accomplish whatever work your team is meant to do (run a restaurant, create software, etc.); the other is to help your individual staff members be the best they can be. Successful leaders are successful because they never forget they are there to serve their people — not the other way around.

Here are 12 more things to remember:

  1. You’re their boss, not their friend (though, of course, you can be friendly).
  2. Recognize that you’ll need to earn their respect, especially if you’ve been promoted above your former colleagues.
  3. Always keep your word, even when it’s uncomfortable.
  4. Behave the way you want your employees to behave (e.g., honestly, respectfully).
  5. Provide the tools they need to do their jobs.
  6. Praise in public; criticize in private.
  7. Respect your employees’ capabilities, especially where they are greater than your own.
  8. Allow them latitude in how the work gets done (as long as it does get done).
  9. Give credit where credit is due.
  10. Take the blame when things go wrong.
  11. Ask for feedback, and respond to it.
  12. Learn to delegate.

Finally, always remember that authority isn’t given to you; it comes from you. Lead with grace, class, kindness and dignity, and you will find that people will sincerely want to do a good job.

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at wg@karenburnsworkinggirl.com.