Got the Promotion? 5 Steps for Managing Your Former Peers

5 Steps to Navigating the Shift in Power

The hottest months of the summer are also the hottest months for earning a promotion at work. Once you get the promotion, though, there are plenty more challenges on the way. Now you might be in a position where you have to manage your former peers. There will be an abundance of mixed feelings among your coworkers. Some will be uncomfortable that you’re younger than they are, others will be looking forward to taking advantage of your new role, and some will be excited for fresh ideas.

5 Steps to Managing Your Former Peers

No matter what kind of environment shift your promotion gives you, remember these five steps for managing your former peers:

Prove your authority. Start out slow by demonstrating to your coworkers you know what you’re doing and deserve this promotion. Build your credibility and start to figure out your management style. You have to walk before you can run. Figure out what management style works best for you. Once you establish yourself in your new role, then you can begin introducing new ideas.

Be collaborative. It’s especially important at the beginning to show your coworkers you care about them. You can do this by asking them for their thoughts. What changes would they like to see you make? What do they need from you? Be supportive of your team and they will learn to support you.

Make peace with the competition. Since you were up for the promotion, chances are someone else’s name was in the mix as well. They’re going to be pretty disappointed to hear they lost to you. Make sure they know you value their support and ideas. Help them succeed the next time around.

Limit the casual interactions. If you want your team to respect you as their manager, you will need to limit the amount of time you spend with them outside of work. Especially avoid gatherings at bars or booze-filled parties. If you remain close friends with your former peers, others will try to blame you for favoritism. You don’t need to cut your friends out completely, but definitely make a change. Your friends will understand.

Use your experience as a blueprint. You used to work alongside of these people, so you know exactly how they operate. You know who works well together and who doesn’t. You’ve seen their strengths and weaknesses in action. Plus, you probably have allies among the troops. Use your prior knowledge to your advantage.

You should also consider learning more about the intricacies of human interaction in an effort to gain a holistic understanding of peer management. There are many ways that one could go about this, but going back to school for a Master’s in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution is an excellent way to learn more about the ins and outs of conflicts that can take place. Best of all, you can even sign up for this degree online and take these classes in your own time while actively improving your peer interactions in the workplace.

No matter how many steps you take in the right direction, you are going to encounter issues. You can’t predict exactly how your former peers will react to your new role as their leader. Plus, managing your peers is not the only challenge you have to face. A promotion involves all sorts of new responsibilities. Stick to these steps to make the transition a little easier.

What other advice do you have for someone who has to manage their old peers?

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Heather Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended.


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