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When pals become subordinates

Q. This month I was promoted and feel very proud to have accomplished that in this economic climate. The problem is that I worked in this department five years and became very close to several people here. We went out together, spent leisure time with friends and families, and became an "office family." One woman who spends a lot of personal time with me attends our department meetings. Now that I'm in charge, I have to decide if her suggestions are productive or not. I had to turn down one of her ideas yesterday and she has been acting very cold toward me since. I don't want this to go on, but I am responsible for deciding what ideas should be used. How do I handle this?

Ans. You'll continue to have meetings with subordinates who are former colleagues and personal friends. But your relationships with them have changed. You are the leader of this group and it's your job to accept or deny their ideas. It is not personal and they should understand you must make objective decisions. Michael D. Watkins, author of "Your Next Move, the Leader's Guide to Navigating Major Career Transitions"  (Harvard Business Press $24.95) says you all have to understand and accept that change, so you'd better call individual meetings with them to explain that.

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