How To Manage Former Peers (With Tips for Success)

Here are some guidelines to help you be successful:
  1. Create a communications plan for your team as a whole as well as for individuals. …
  2. Set clear boundaries, especially with those who were once close friends or peers. …
  3. Don’t show favoritism. …
  4. Set clear roles and expectations. …
  5. Remember the shadow you cast.

It happens. Bright people like you get noticed—and then promoted. The first challenge is navigating the awkwardness that frequently arises with the people who used to be your peers—your crew. You wanted it, you worked hard for it, you went for it, you deserve it, and you got it. You’re now the boss. How should you handle the changes and challenges?.

I remember my own experience going through this. Working with Linda, a devoted woman with a contagious laugh who had been with the company for 19 years, I was only 25 years old. She and I shared an office during my first year at the company, and we went on site visits together across the nation. Then our boss promoted me over her.

Linda was furious. She should have received the promotion if decisions were made based on length of employment with the company, and that is undoubtedly how she felt. As a result, one of the first management lessons I had to learn was how to resolve conflicts with a disgruntled employee.

I read everything I could find about managing a team, keeping track of employees, and other management fundamentals. I worked all day and then studied when I got home at night. I wanted to do it right. I wanted to be a good boss. But Linda continued to dislike me, even on the day that she left several years later.

Don’t meet with your entire team all at once when you first start your new job and receive a promotion. Instead, schedule individual meetings with each member of your team to learn their thoughts on the changes. People have too much room to hide behind one another when working as a team. In an eye-to-eye conversation, they can address you directly and say what needs to be said.

Pull that person aside and address it in private if you notice someone on your new team is being passive-aggressive about your new role. You could say, “I have heard comments from others that you are not happy with me leading this team,” or something similar. Would you be open to speaking with me directly about your concerns?

Doing this now is preferable to waiting and discovering that a lot of things were said indirectly rather than directly to you. Continue to listen until all of the displeased parties have finished speaking. They might be envious of you because you received a promotion and they didn’t People who doubt your suitability for the position or who think you were unfairly promoted might subtly sabotage your efforts. Deal with any of this mischief directly. This establishes a direct line of communication and prevents any backbiting.

As soon as you can, spend some time explaining your values and goals for the team, including what they can expect from you and how you prefer to work. Describe your team’s ground rules, such as “I prefer for people to come directly to me if something isn’t working.” Don’t gossip about each other or me behind my back. ”.

Be prepared for aggressive questioning and challenge. The goal of discussion is to see if we can all come up with a better idea than any of us had initially, so try not to be defensive or insecure. Independent thought and the confidence to test ideas without self-defensiveness and ego are qualities that stand out in a great team member.

Take your team on a one-day “advance” away from the office after you’ve completed this. You may have experience with a team retreat. They’re often some combination of strategy, team bonding and fun. The truth is that they’re often just an attempt at fun for many teams. And many struggle with the bonding piece, too. In an “advance,” you concentrate on expressing who you are as a new leader. You need their cooperation because you don’t have all the answers.

Managing Former Peers – A 3-Minute Crash Course

Why is it important to learn how to manage former peers?

It’s crucial to forge an effective employee-manager relationship as soon as you can if you find yourself managing people who were once your peers. Establishing a productive working relationship encourages employees to give their all, which improves the output of the entire team. The following are crucial elements of managing former coworkers that will keep your team’s performance strong:

When do you need to manage former peers?

You may oversee your former peers in a variety of circumstances. The best strategy for handling your changed relationship depends on the specific dynamics of each circumstance. Common situations where you manage former peers include:

Following an internal promotion

You may frequently manage former coworkers after receiving an internal promotion. Companies frequently prefer to hire internally when filling management positions because a current employee is already familiar with the business’s operations.

You might work with staff members who also applied for the position when you are promoted internally, which is something to keep in mind as you take on your new responsibilities. Similar to that, you might have to change your existing relationships with former coworkers to take the new dynamic into account.

When moving to a new employer

You may still manage former peers if you bring staff members with you or if a former peer already works for your new employer, even though accepting a management position with a new employer probably means you will get to know new employees. Before making a hiring decision, it’s crucial to talk about the new workplace relationship with prospective hires in order to make sure they can work effectively for you in your new position.

After being named a project manager

Sometimes a manager names a staff member as manager only for a particular project or assignment, known as a management opportunity. It’s crucial to establish your authority as a project manager because you are accountable for the project’s successful completion. This will enable your team to produce the best results. An excellent chance to demonstrate that you are prepared for a full-time promotion is a temporary project management position.

In a mentoring relationship

When a worker falls short of expectations, an employer may decide to pair them with a more seasoned worker to help them perform better. To support your coworker’s performance and uphold a strong working relationship, it’s critical to remain sensitive to their feelings throughout this relationship.

How to manage former peers

To move into your new position as smoothly as possible, managing your former colleagues requires careful consideration. Follow these steps to thrive in your new management position:

1. Start preparing early

Before you are hired for the position, you can begin preparing to be a manager. You can demonstrate your interest in a management position by looking for leadership opportunities when working on projects and producing quality work. You can use the time before you start to establish your managerial relationships with your peers if you earn a management position that is not immediately available, such as taking over following a supervisor’s planned retirement.

2. Assess the situation

It’s crucial to take into account every aspect of your new role because every transition into management is different. Examine the connections you have with your peers to see how they may respond to the change. The more precisely you gauge their responses, the more successfully you can direct them through the process while still advancing the company.

Additionally, it’s critical to make an honest evaluation of your own qualifications and abilities. While some of your new tasks might seem simpler for you to complete, others might call for you to learn new skills to get ready for the position. You can use the break to get better at all of your tasks by using your transition. For instance, if you need some time to learn how to handle production quotas, you could get in touch with a manager in a related position and request to work as their assistant.

3. Create a plan

Make a plan for the start of your management tenure using your evaluation of the staff and your own skills. Include initiatives to acclimate staff to the new workplace culture and any planned changes to procedure. To achieve measurable results, give each one specific objectives and deadlines. One of your objectives, for instance, could be to schedule individual meetings with each team member by the end of the first week to establish expectations.

4. Set your personal rules

It’s critical to establish guidelines for your own behavior when developing your new management culture. When establishing your rules, take social media, break time, and after-work socializing into account. By letting all employees see that you are treating them equally, knowing your own boundaries makes it simpler to decide on the best course of action in a given circumstance and aids in maintaining company morale.

5. Set clear expectations

It’s crucial to let your former coworkers know what you expect of them when you become a manager. Your professional goals as well as any actions or behaviors you want to change when in charge are included in this. Explain any changes you make to the previous standard operating procedures in detail, and think about explaining your thinking behind these changes.

Setting clear expectations for employees will help them succeed and will also serve as a guide for you as you establish fair performance standards. Because they are aware of your expectations and goals, the staff can work with confidence knowing that it complies with company goals and policies.

6. Arrange for one-on-one discussions

Meeting with your team members can help them better understand their responsibilities when working for you. Direct conversations with your former peers give you the chance to give any specific recommendations or assignments you have and give them the chance to ask you any questions they may have. As a result, you can get off to a good start during your tenure as their manager.

7. Earn respect with results

Delivering results is a good way to establish yourself as a manager, and this goes for both your staff and your supervisors. When implementing organizational changes, pay close attention to the outcomes and make necessary adjustments. Employees who are initially reluctant to accept and appreciate your management plans can be helped by positive experiences as the staff starts to notice the results of your management.

Tips for managing former peers successfully

If you’ve agreed to manage your former colleagues, bear the following advice in mind to make the transition easier:


How do you transition to managing your peers?

Here’s how to manage your move from peer to boss.
  1. Hold One-on-one Meetings. Being open about the discomfort of transitioning from a peer to a boss will go a long way.
  2. Maintain the Status Quo. …
  3. Use Having Been a Peer to Your Advantage. …
  4. Develop a New Peer Network. …
  5. Set a New Socializing Paradigm.

How do you supervise a former coworker?

How to Supervise Former Co-Workers
  1. Start with a clean slate. Co-workers tend to bad mouth their boss, slack off, etc.
  2. Give them time to adjust. …
  3. Don’t make mass, sweeping changes in the workplace. …
  4. Be prepared for some of your former coworkers to avoid you.
  5. Demonstrate that you’ll still collaborate with them, not on top of them.

How do you manage someone older and more experienced?

  1. 9 Tips to Effectively Manage Older Employees. October 8, 2021.
  2. 1) Keep an Open Mind. …
  3. 2) Leverage Their Experience. …
  4. 3) Encourage Learning New Skills. …
  5. 4) Take the Time to Understand Their Motivations. …
  6. 5) Appreciate Lifestyle Differences. …
  7. 6) Be Open to Feedback. …
  8. 7) Find Commonalities.

What tips can we offer new managers who are now supervising their former peers?

What tips are there for new managers who are now supervising their former peers?
  • Separate personal relationships from professional ones. …
  • Let former peers know that you take your responsibilities seriously.
  • Treat all employees equally. …
  • Ask for help. …
  • Be honest.

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