10 tips (and 1 key) for leading former peers

Herausforderung: Plötzlich Führungsperson von ArbeitskollegInnen - 10 Tipps die helfen können

Quote: “It’s a tough situation as the dynamics completely change and people begin to scrutinize your every move more closely. It brings the difficulties of any promotion along with the added challenge of adjusting the relationships with those you used to work alongside.” Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University.

Being a leader is never easy, but it can be especially challenging when you’re leading former peers. When you transition from working alongside your colleagues to leading them, it can be difficult to navigate the new dynamic, find the right balance between being a boss and being a friend, and establish an authority.

Here a 10 tips and 1 key for leading former peers and overcoming the biggest challenges for new managers in changing roles within the same organization.

10 tips for leading former peers

“The majority of mid-level executives have been promoted to lead their peers,”, claims Michael Watkins, Chairman of Genesis Advisers. However, just because it’s a common experience doesn’t make it any easier. To get some answers, Forbes asked the Members of Forbes Coaches Council about their best advice for new leaders to help make a smooth transition from peer to leader. We gathered eleven tips that will help you to maintain professional relationships while also effectively leading and making decisions for the team.

Below are 10 tips that will help you maintain professional relationships and make decisions while leading the team effectively.

  1. Listen and communicate: Clear communication is the key to success in any leadership role, but it’s especially important when leading former peers. Encourage open communication and actively listen to the concerns and ideas of your team members. Regular team meetings and 1:1 check-ins can help ensure that everyone is on the same page, expectations are clearly defined, and any issues are addressed in a timely manner.
Herausforderung: Plötzlich Führungsperson von ArbeitskollegInnen - 10 Tipps die helfen können

2. Show Empathy and Confidence: Empathy and confidence are key when establishing authority. Speak with conviction, make decisions, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. But remember that your team members are human beings, and they may be going through a difficult transition or time in life. Show empathy and understanding for any struggles they may be facing and be willing to offer support and guidance. That’s how you gain their trust and loyalty towards you and your company.

3. Establish clear boundaries: Setting clear boundaries and expectations is essential to maintain a professional working relationship and avoid confusion or resentment. This includes clarifying roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes. By setting clear boundaries, you can help create a stable and organized work environment for your team. 

4. Show respect at all times: As a leader, it is important to show respect to all members of your team, including former peers. This means acknowledging their contributions, being open to their ideas, and treating them with dignity and respect. Showing respect to your team members will help build trust and create a positive work environment.

5. Be fair and consistent: Being fair and consistent in your decision making and avoiding showing favoritism to any individual or group is essential to maintain a positive work environment. This helps to ensure that all team members are treated fairly and equitably, which can help build trust and motivation.

6. Encourage personal and professional growth: Helping your team members grow and develop professionally is an important part of leading a team. Encourage your team members to set goals, pursue training and development opportunities, and continuously improve their skills. Offering business coaching and language training could be an important part of it.

Herausforderung: Plötzlich Führungsperson von ArbeitskollegInnen - 10 Tipps die helfen können

7. Recognize and reward good performance: Recognizing and rewarding good performance is a great way to motivate and encourage your team members. Regularly acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of your team members will help to create a positive and supportive work environment. Employees will feel recognized and valued and spread a positive work ethic.

8. Give and embrace feedback: As a leader, it’s important to be open to feedback from your team members as well as be able to give productive feedback. Feedback can improve skills and processes and help everyone to identify areas for improvement. M sure the feedback is positive, productive, and wellcommunicated. This will lead to higher employee engagement, productivity, improved retention, and greater profitability.

9.Take it slow and keep things light: Don’t try to make big changes right away. Ease into your new role by getting to know your team and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. And keep your sense of humor: Laughter is a great way to diffuse tension and create a positive working environment. Keep things light, even in the face of stress. 

10. Lead by Example: When you become a leader, you’re setting the standard for the team. Your actions will speak louder than words. Demonstrate your leadership qualities by being accountable, taking initiative, and setting a positive example. Your former peers will be looking up to you to see how they should act, so it’s important that you lead by example in terms of work ethic, attitude, and behavior.