AMA Answers: I Am a New Manager. How Do I Manage My Friends and Former Peers?

April 2, 2013

New managers often ask this question, but being responsible for the work of former peers and friends is a common concern that managers at any level have when they are promoted from within. It is not solely a new manager concern. The good news is it does get easier with practice and experience.

The first thing you should do is eliminate any behaviors that created perceived favoritism (examples include lunches just with former friends or plum assignments to former friends). You also should discuss new boundaries that are necessary now that you are in a management role. For example, set boundaries between work, your social life, and friends. You also need to learn your new job ASAP to show why you were promoted, Expect flack and manage it diplomatically. Don’t be afraid to discuss this openly and make agreements with your former peers about how you will manage your new relationship behaviors at work.

Don’t forget to explain your role and expectations as a new manager. They are waiting to see what you expect and how you will evaluate their performance, so make sure you tell them. Every time a person gets a new boss, they have a new job because their performance expectations have changed.

Here are three other areas you can address:  enhancing your competency and confidence as a new manager, establishing your credibility, and develop exceptional communication skills.


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About The Author

Nannette Rundle Carroll views management challenges as communication opportunities. For over 20 years, her powerful management seminars have helped participants use process skills to solve people problems. With this knowledge, managers can implement lasting solutions and build relationships. Her background as Director of Management Development/ Training for a Fortune 100 global division gives her a uniquely helpful perspective on aligning process, project and people management. Nannette is on the American Management Association Faculty. She is also a member of the National Speakers Association and is a certified Executive Presentation Skills expert.

One Comment »

  1. avatar

    I found the suggestion for meetings helpful:

    “They help you succeed in the “Observer” role of a manager. They also prevent a perception of micromanagement because meetings are scheduled as a routine. Everyone knows the purpose is to update you on task”

    I have four individuals reporting to me and was checking in with them daily but I am going to institute this policy a real time saver!

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