Managing Former Peers! You’ve worked with an employee for years. They’re great at their job and have been instrumental in helping the company succeed. But now, you’re leaving that role behind to take on another new position as manager.

It can be hard enough handling the transition of moving from one role to another, but it’s even more difficult when this promotion comes along with your current work environment changing.

When you become a manager who is internally promoted, it can get tricky to balance transitioning into the new role while still maintaining friendships and good working relationships. Here are some tips on how to make sure you manage employees who used to work with you.

Managing Former Peers

Preparing A Promoted Employee for Becoming a Manager

The first thing you want to do is help prepare your former employee for what will come next. This might mean giving them some pointers about the responsibilities of being a manager or preparing them for any questions they may have about the change.

If possible, try to find out if they would like to keep their same office space, so they don’t need to move.

If you feel comfortable doing so, consider having them shadow you during their last day. Then, after their final day, ask if they’d like to meet with you to go over some things about the new role.

This way, they’ll know everything there is to know about the new responsibilities, and they won’t be left wondering what to expect next.

Managing Old Coworkers

It’s important to remember that these people are no longer reporting to you, and they may not see eye-to-eye with you anymore. Be sensitive when talking to them, but make it clear that the work dynamic has changed. Try to set aside time to talk with each other outside of normal work hours.

There is no definitive way to deal with old coworkers. The easiest way is to just treat them like anyone else.

Don’t let friendships or disputes get in the way of managing. Just like you wouldn’t allow a personal friendship or relationships outside of work to bother you any other time on the job.

Finally, don’t forget that you are not responsible for solving every problem that arises among your staff members. Dealing with conflicts should only be done when necessary (and certainly not every time someone has an opinion different from yours).

Remember that you aren’t accountable for making decisions for others, and you shouldn’t force yourself to step in and solve every issue that arises.

Managing Your Friends: Avoid Playing Favorites

One of the most common complaints people have when becoming a manager is feeling isolated by their new peers. While you may be tempted to tell your best friend something or give them preferential treatment because they helped you advance within the organization, resist this temptation!

Your goal as a manager isn’t to form tight bonds with certain individuals. Instead, your aim is to develop strong ties with everyone on your team.

One big mistake many managers make is placing special attention on only one person in order to gain favor. This type of behavior can lead to favoritism, which is unfair to everyone on the team.

Instead of forming close personal connections with a select few, seek advice from your human resources department to learn about networking events or professional development courses. These types of activities allow you to connect with other professionals in your field and broaden your network.

Getting Old Coworkers to Respect You as Manager

Even though you may have had a positive experience working with an employee previously, it doesn’t guarantee they will always respect you as a leader. After all, when someone is going to be taking direction from you, they will naturally want to test your leadership skills to see if you’re capable of directing them properly.

To prevent this from happening, encourage teamwork and collaboration within your group. One great way to kick off the new relationship is to invite them in to go over their goals using your performance management software. Make it known that you’re concerned about their individual goals and use that as a recurring theme.

Try to model the behaviors you want to see from your team. Take the initiative to involve them in tasks that require creativity and innovation.

Showing your employees that you value diversity and teamwork also shows that you welcome opinions from all corners of the room. Once you’ve shown that you value input from all sources, your workers will start to trust you more.

As a result of this, they will likely follow your directions without questioning them since they know you will listen to them. And in turn, they will be willing to share their ideas with you as well.

By following these simple guidelines for promoting internally, strong, lasting relationships will be forged on all fronts, leaving room for new growth.

Final Tips

Use these following tips as a new manager to begin your new role in the right manner.

Be Courteous & Professional

Treat your employees respectfully regardless of gender, race, age, or religion. Respect their opinions and listen carefully. Always treat them fairly and honestly. Don’t use offensive language or curse words. And above all, remain calm no matter what happens.

Handle Criticism Constructively

Although criticism can sometimes sting, constructive criticisms benefit all parties involved. Managers should welcome feedback from their subordinates as long as it remains respectful. Listen calmly and respond accordingly. Ask questions if needed until you fully comprehend the problem. Then follow up with solutions designed to solve the issue completely.

One final thing to note when you’ve prepared your new manager for their role – don’t forget to check up on them. Use your performance management system to develop some form of goal or development plan that can be tracked and revisited at any time.

You can also create another tracker that follows the overall goals of the team to determine how well the new manager is leading. Keep these two separate – individuals’ goals and managerial goals for the team.

The eLeaP continuous performance management system provides organizations with powerful options to attract and retain high caliber team members.