How to Manage Former Peers

By EverwiseSeptember 22, 2016

Getting promoted is something to celebrate! It can also be challenging, especially when you are promoted within your team, and are now responsible for the success of the people you used to work next to.

Thankfully, many members of our community have gone through this, and offer sage advice on how to navigate the first few months of transitioning from co-worker to boss.

Acknowledge the shift in dynamic

Ann Petry recommends being up front with the new dynamic, and recognize that it may initially be awkward. It’s a new relationship with a group of people you already have a history with, so acknowledging the change is a good thing. LeeAnne Berlinsky points out to “keep in mind that your perspective is only based on what you saw as a peer.”

Recognize your advantages

The good news is that you have a lot of knowledge about the company and the team, so you have that advantage over an external manager coming in brand new to the company. As Daniel Baxter shares, “You know each person’s attributes and challenges. Use them to be your “force extenders.”

Awatar Singh recommends getting an early win by working on a few things you know the team did not like or want changed. “An immediate positive action will add on to a good start.”

Communicate with your team early and often

Early and frequent check-ins are key to any team’s success, according to Joseph Cipriano. Francis Gan agrees, focusing 1:1s on career development and goal setting for the people on your team. And if you continue to have individual goals along with team milestones, it’s important to clarify that with everyone.

Get professional management training

Francis also recommends taking advantage of any leadership development opportunities your company offers. “How you work with former peers is somewhat culture dependent but many of the typical leadership skills apply – listening, empathy, clear vision/direction, dealing with ambiguity, driving clarity, managing work.” Many companies offer specific training for new managers, or you may find something external that supports your growth in those areas.

Don’t change who you are

Finally, Curt Kwak stresses to not change who you are. “You got the role because of who you are, along with what you have accomplished.  You will continue to accomplish things as you go.. new things, in different ways even.. but try not to change who you are…. let nature take it’s course.”

In summary, when making the move from team member to manager:

  • Acknowledge the shift in dynamic with your former peers
  • Recognize your advantages and capitalize on a quick win
  • Communicate with your team early and often
  • Get professional management training
  • Don’t change who you are, it got you the promotion

Interested in learning more tips? Join the Everwise community as a mentor, and read the full discussion here.



About the Author

Everwise connects employees with the people, resources and feedback they need to be more productive and successful at every stage of their career. Request a Demo: https://www.geteverwise.com/requestdemo/

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