Unforeseen Consequence of a Promotion – Shifting From Peer to Manager

The calendar may say it’s October-fest time, but at ON Point it has been “promotion-fest” time for a long time. So many of our clients are on the rise and have been elevated to exciting executive positions. Whereas a new director, senior director, VP, or C-suite position may be the ambitious professional goal, a dream job for many, it also has its challenges. Climbing the corporate ladder is not easy – it takes a lot of hard work, a little luck, sacrifice, strategy, and careful career planning. Each elevated position requires a different skill set along with a steep learning curve – and that is just to do the day-to-day responsibilities. What about the additional, and often unforeseen or unexpected, obstacles of navigating the complicated dynamics that occur when you shift from a peer to a manager?
Yesterday you were in the trenches with your peers, commiserating or complaining about your manager, grabbing cocktails after work, traveling together to conferences, and sharing secrets, family dramas, and career aspirations. You were peers and sometimes even very close friends, and now you are their manager, their supervisor, their boss. The relationship changes as soon as your title changes. You are now in charge of their performance reviews, will need to provide constructive feedback, have hard conversations, select who gets professional development opportunities, and sometimes even decide who stays and who goes. This is the part of a promotion no one ever prepares for or anticipates – it’s not in the new job description and doesn’t come with a manual.
Follow the ON Point Action Plan to learn how to successfully shift from peer to manager.
  1. Be Aware & Acknowledge – the transition is awkward for everyone & feelings need to be recognized & validated
  2. Meet Up – schedule 1:1 meetings with everyone to have a private conversation
  3. Communicate Clearly – talk about your leadership style, expectations & what will change & what will not
  4. Use Inside Information – take advantage of knowing them so well to leverage their strengths & identify opportunities for growth
  5. Make New Friends – with each new position comes a new peer group; reach out & establish new relationships
  6. Set Boundaries – know where the line is when it comes to sharing information, socializing & behaving in a way that aligns with the new title
  7. Show Confidence – the “imposter syndrome” shows up with a promotion; keep it at bay & bring an extra dose of confidence