Managing Former Peers

No, we're not talking about dealing with the emotional fallout suffered by a disgraced member of the House of Lords.

Being promoted from within a team and then being expected to manage former colleagues can be a tough challenge. Without help, many people in this position will find managing their "friends and former peers" just to hard to do and they often end up going back to their previous position or, finding the downward move to difficult to take, decide to move on.

Apart from your own possible feelings of insecurity, there are also several other egos to take into account, all with their own, possibly unspoken view, on how it'll work out.

In some cases, however scary, it's better for the new manager to be faced with or even elicit the truth about the situation. If there's a feeling of tension in the air it's probably best to get out in the open and deal with it rather than letting it fester into a future revolt or clash.

Yes, managers have to know the job, the market, the product etc, but far more importantly they also have to know about managing people and what makes them tick. If there's a fundamental difference in the switch from being staff to becoming management, then that's it in a nutshell.

As with any change, people will naturally require a period of levelling out, and that's usually accomplished by some obvious leadership and honesty from the front.

The nature of your relationship will change, that's a natural thing, but sometimes you need only make the smallest of changes to create the biggest impact. Extreme of behaviour will not do you any favours. Sometimes in order to manage people go from nice to nasty or vice versa because they don't realise that there's a middle ground. Neither table thumping or being too lenient will be of any long-term benefit to you, the team or the company.

One thing a manager has to give up is being liked by everyone, however with luck in time this will be replaced by respect.

 

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