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  • Jessie I.

How to handle your ex-colleagues as a newly appointed manager

Updated: May 30

colleagues watching the same monitor

Nowadays, it is common for businesses to expand rapidly, adding a new level of management and creating a new position. You and a few of your peers applied for a promotion because the company's leadership wanted to move up internally.

You got the position, and now that you hold it, your coworkers that used work with you, report to you.

If you have a good relationship with your former peers, managing them can be fine. They might supported you. Those people will be eager to follow you and truly happy for you.However, they will be people who are envious or who just did not like you in the first place. So now how do you deal with the situation. Here are some tips to help you.

Let them speak.

You cannot avoid the situation and there will be some awkwardness. Try to confront it by communicating openly. The one-on-one sessions are a great opportunity to vent. Allow your former coworkers to vent. Listen. Gather information, analyze and act accordingly.

Frequently, people simply want to be heard. They might not be even looking for solution just space and time to talk about their grievances and feelings. You will be starting a conversation about the problems that naturally arise when managing former peers, whether it's because they also wanted the job or because they don't know how this will affect your friendship.

You may gain valuable insights if you come prepared to learn. For instance, if they believed you were a better fit for the position, inquire about your leadership flaws. By learning what they thought you lacked, you can become a better leader and demonstrate that you are listening to them at the same time.

In addition, it establishes the expectation that, even though you are in charge, you will still consider their suggestions.

It sends a strong message about how you handle challenges and how much you value their input if you have the courage to answer these awkward questions right away. This is a great way to get to know your new manager and team member.

Use the information that you already know

You probably know your peers pretty well if you've worked with them for a long time. Because of this, you are aware of their advantages and disadvantages and can prepare them for success. Give them the trust and freedom to complete the tasks you know they are capable of. Use what you know about the job and your colleagues to your advantage by making appropriate changes you know would fit the company goals and would provide solutions.

Set boundaries

You can no longer have close, intimate friendships in the same way you used to.Sarah, one of my clients used to be in this position and she handled it by striking a delicate balance between remaining professional and still caring about the team. She started dressing always smart, setting boundaries not going for lunch with the colleagues. She said to me that “relationships can't be maintained in the same way they were before but if you want the job it is part of it”. The issues she came across were: decisions made without your consent or even notification; It might be harder to convince people to accept the changes you want; They might not take constructive criticism seriously; It might be hard for you to moderate and lead team discussions and debates.

You must work on establishing clear boundaries between yourself and your team members in order to avoid these issues. Now, this does not imply that you should remain completely detached or become an extremely strict boss in the future. It simply indicates that you might need to slightly alter your outlook.

You should work on separating yourself from your former peers, as we covered in the previous two points. You can accomplish this through your words and deeds, such as: to demonstrate that you still have responsibilities, avoid acting unprofessional even at company social events. Make it clear to your team that you are now their manager by discussing decisions with them in a formal manner.

talking specifically about the change and what it means for your work-related and personal relationships.Inform your coworkers that you must act serious and professional when you are at work and that you want to emphasize a clear separation when you are spending time together outside of the office.

Finally, you don’t have to lose your friendship with former colleagues. However, you need to set clear boundaries so that they do not take advantage of you and take you seriously. Is it doable with the right strategy.

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