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Five Actions to Take When Your New Team Includes Friends and Former Peers

Congratulations! You just received a promotion. The selection process was very competitive and several of your peers in the company were also in the running. Some of those peers are now on your team, but that’s okay because they are all happy for you and want to help you succeed.

Well, maybe not all of them. Actually, in realville where you actually live, at least one, and probably more, of your former peers will harbor some resentment, wondering, “Why not me? I think I am more qualified.”

One of the most difficult leadership challenges is transitioning from peer to supervisor. You are now responsible for the same people who last week were associates and friends. Here are five actions which will help you pass this first leadership test.

  1. Accept that you are now the supervisor. You have new responsibilities and will begin to see things from a different perspective. You will have to make decisions others may not like and your own supervisor is expecting you to seize the responsibilities of your new position.
  2. It is not necessary to set aside friendships, but you must reject friendship as a factor in making decisions. Such perceived favoritism will cause even more resentment throughout you team.
  3. Accept that not all your former peers want you to succeed. Some will be sure that your promotion was somehow unfair and they should be sitting in your chair. Some will grumble and begrudge you your position; others will actively work to help you fail. Meet this head on. Try a private conversation gently emphasizing that you will not allow the team to fail. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about the team.
  4. Don’t go whining to the boss. Your supervisor has put his or her confidence in you and expects you to handle this challenge. Running to the boss the first time this situation arises will not build confidence in your leadership ability.
  5. Accept your new responsibility with grace and humility. The, “I’m the new boss and you’re not” approach will not help you succeed. At the same time you must take the reins and lead. A lack of positive leadership, even with your former peers, will lead to failure. Start from day one with the attitude that it’s all about the team and not about you.

Leading your new team is a challenge but your boss believes you can handle it. Prove the boss right.

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