Delighted On Promotion But Anxious About Leading Peers ?

MadhaviLeadershipLeave a Comment


Congratulations!!! You are being promoted to lead your team now. Your hard work has paid off and you are now offered that dream role, the bigger office, and the highly visible project.

We see this often in IT – a senior member of the team is promoted or is made in charge to lead a project and the team members that works on that project are his (former) peers.

When you are being promoted to lead a group of your friends or former peers, the transition is tough. There are several challenges that you come across, some obvious and some not so obvious.

The transition starts off with a very uncomfortable and awkward atmosphere. You may have built good relationships with your former peers which will take a different turn now.

Acceptance – Your peers might not accept you as their boss – they still perceive you as their peer and which results in them being non-cooperative.

Uncooperative – You may have some peers that are jealous of your promotion. They feel that you ended up in the position that they were supposed to get and as a result they will start not to co-operate with you, not respond to your requests in a timely fashion to make you fail in your role.

There are several other factors and situations that you will have to face. Being aware and well prepared of your action plan will lessen your burden and will bring you one step closer to your success.

These 3 case studies show different approaches on how to manage your former peers.

The following tips can help you establish yourself credibility and authority in your new role and as a boss to your friends or former peers.

  • Be aware and accept the fact that you will have to deal with rejection from your once peers. 
  • Be prepared for some relationships to strain as a result of your promotion. If you are lucky, your friends and former peers may be happy for you and may accept you as their boss. Yet, it will still be best to maintain certain distance from your peers so as to not come across as having favorites among team members. 
  • Do not try to come out too strong to show your authority. Take slow and steady action steps to achieve your goals, this will give the team sometime to accept the reality and accept you as their boss.
  • Be upfront – tell them about your approach, your vision and your expectations. Ask them about their expectations of you.
  • Listen – Make it a habit to give time to your team. Be diligent in scheduling time with each of your team members to know them, their problems, their aspirations and goals. Try to help them solve their problems and reach their goals.  
  • Follow up – Keep up your word and follow up on any promises or commitments you made.
  • Feedback – In addition to getting feedback from your superiors, get feedback from your peers and also your former peers (your team).  Take actions on any suggestions for improvements showing that you value their feedback.
  • Goals – Do not lose your focus and priority. At the end of the day, your job is to get work done; not please your former peers.

What are you experiences when you had to lead your peers? Share with us in the comments below.



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