Managing Former Peers (A Cheat Sheet for Busy Managers)

August 30, 2011 by  Filed under: Management 

Managing former peers is probably your most immediate challenge if you’ve just been promoted. Below we suggest five key steps to managing peers.

“Congratulations… you’ve got that promotion you wanted so badly. Now go fire your best friend.”

5 Steps to Managing Former Peers

  1. Decide if you actually want the job of managing peers
  2. Reach out to all stakeholders
  3. Establish one on ones with your new direct reports
  4. Strike the balance between over and under managing peers
  5. Be a professional

Decide if You Actually Want the Job of Managing Former Peers

Just because you are offered a promotion, doesn’t mean you necessarily have to take it. You need to think through whether you want the added burden of managing peers. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Your peer relationships will change whether you want them to or not. Don’t be naïve enough to think they won’t.
  • You can’t control others’ attitudes and/ behavior. Even if you are ready to make the new relationship work, that doesn’t mean others will be as willing.
  • If your personal relationships at work are really important to you, you may want to decline your new role of managing peers.

Reach Out to Stakeholders

For anyone in a new position of leadership, it is crucial to reach out to important stakeholders. It is especially important when managing former peers. You should speak with your new direct reports, your boss, and other people you interface with often. Here are some thoughts as to what to ask them:

  • What would you focus on if you were me?
  • What can be done better?
  • What would you suggest is the top priority?

Be systematic and thorough – even when it becomes onerous and time consuming

Establish One on One Meetings With New Direct Reports

When managing peers, it is important to establish structured and regular one on one meetings with these people. Well-executed one on one meetings will ultimately save you time, and make managing peers easier. These meetings provide an opportunity to:

  • Set expectations
  • Reinforce and reward desired behaviors and performance
  • Communicate and clarify roles and goals
  • Update status on action plans.

Best of all, regular one on one meetings significantly reduce the number of “drive-bys” or drop-in meetings when managing peers.

Strike the Balance When Managing Former Peers

Do not come on too strong and micromanage your new situation. BUT… you are no longer “one of the girls”, either. If you experience any significant challenge to your authority, you need to deal with it directly and quickly. Also make sure you delegate appropriate when managing peers. If you hoard all the work yourself, you will ultimately fail.

Be Professional

Professionalism is paramount when managing peers. In order to do so effectively, you need to detach yourself from your personality, and rather view yourself as the new manager of the group or department. Here are some guidelines for maintaining professionalism when managing peers.

  • Stay focused on facts
  • Maintain confidences
  • Tow the company line. You are management’s representative in your work group. You undermine your own credibility, and are not doing your job if you don’t properly represent management views.
  • You need to refrain from company gossip and going out for cocktails with you direct reports should be done with extreme caution.
  • Don’t play favorites

3 Things to Remember About Managing Former Peers:

  1. Figure out if you really do want the opportunity. Most often you do have the opportunity to say “no”.
  2. Your friendships will change. It won’t be the same once you are the boss.
  3. Communicate several times. Everyone in a new leadership role should look to over-communicate by a factor of ten.

Bob Bradley and Jed Teigen are managers-turned-management consultants who don’t take themselves too seriously. They offer management and leadership cheat sheets (like this one) and videos on a wide range of business and management topics. Perfect for busy managers! Check out http://www.wilymanager.com/ to see what it’s all about. They also produce a free podcast on iTunes: http://iTunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/wily-manager/id351213931

Article Source:
http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Robert_B._Bradley

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