Best Practices for Transitioning from Peer to Manager

As companies grow, they naturally undergo a management shuffle, people retire or move on, and younger leaders step up into their roles. But when teams get restructured, it’s not always easy to start over already-established relationships. Such is the case when a former peer is tasked with making the transition into the role of a manager.

This issue permeates through all levels, whether it’s between a manager and a peer or a CEO and a president, and shaking up this hierarchy poses a challenge for the newly promoted team member. To work toward renewing and reestablishing the relationship in its new format, both parties need to be ready to move forward.

See what best practices our coaches have to offer for easing the peer-to-manager transition.

Realize You’ve Come to the End of a Role

If you were hired at the same time as your peers and have now been promoted to be their new boss, you can expect the team to feel as though it’s been launched into unfamiliar territory.

The first thing you need to do is personally understand that your role has changed and that your relationships moving forward will too. This doesn’t mean you won’t be friendly with your now direct reports, but for the new dynamic to take hold, you need to accept that things are going to feel different then they have been.

Establish Ground Rules for the New Relationship

Communicating with your direct reports as direct reports and not as peers demands leadership in transition. It’s important that you acknowledge this change in the team dynamic with peers but also make it known that it’s something you’ll get through and be a stronger team in the end for.

The best way to carry this out is to treat the relationship like it’s new. Have a meeting with each of your direct reports to set ground rules like you would with any new employee. These should include standards of communication, expectations, etc.

If things you shared with your former peers would now be deemed inappropriate, such as gossiping about your former boss, make sure that you address this. “Look, let’s start with a clean slate. Don’t worry about the things that were said before. That was between you and me as peers.”

And, of course, if you promise this, make sure that you really don’t share it with the boss!

Offer Your Support

The peer-to-manager transition can be tough, but it doesn’t have to end in a shouting match. This is a great opportunity for you to offer your new direct reports the help they need to personally develop and grow.

Especially if you’re stepping into a new management role that didn’t previously exist, as someone who’s been in their shoes, you’re in a prime position to get your direct reports the resources they need to do their jobs better. Offering your support can really help both parties see the bright side of this shift in the team dynamic.

Getting Help for Teams in Transition

Of course, anytime that you restructure existing relationships by promoting someone from within, there’s a chance that not everyone will be a calm and cool participant. When you need help mediating during these tricky transitions, call Arden Coaching. Our executive coaches will help your organization’s teams in transition confidently turn the page!