How to Lead Your Peers

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John C. Maxwell

As a professional, being promoted is a natural progression and something many aspire to do. However, often when being promoted, you may be asked to lead your peers, which can overshadow the excitement of a promotion.

According to a Forbes article, “Newly promoted managers not only have to learn their new role, but they also have to navigate new relational dynamics – some of which may already be turning sour. More than 45% said they changed the way they spoke to their friends after becoming their boss.”

So, what happens when you are now the boss of your peers, and how do you handle this transition?

Outlined in this Harvard Business Review article are 5 ways to make the transition from peer to manager.

  1. Acknowledge the power shift: Having a candid and honest conversation with a peer who will now report to you is the best approach. Face the challenge head-on and be comfortable being uncomfortable. This conversation will benefit both of you.
  2. Accept your new role: Embrace being a leader and ensure you conduct yourself in the same manner for all team members, whether they’re your friend or not.
  3. Be consistent and fair: Ensure that you are inclusive with your team members. It’s important to not only invite your peers and former friends to coffee or lunch.
  4. Don’t let emotions get in the way of tough decisions: Understand that not everyone will like you, and that’s ok. Having to make tough decisions for the business and people is one of the challenges of being a leader.
  5. Manage how much you share on social media: It’s important to keep your team relationships at work and not follow each other on social media. This can be difficult to avoid, but if you keep it consistent with all team members, they’ll understand your perspective and know it’s not personal.

At the end of the day, we are all human and doing the best we can. If you are the person who has been promoted, give your peers time to adjust to your new role and responsibilities. If your peer was promoted and is now your boss, recognize this is as hard for them as you.

The more everyone can come from a place of understanding and grace, the better the transition will be for all.

Here are resources we found helpful on the topic: