Managing friends, former peers or co-workers is rarely easy when you first become their manager.
Most of the time, people find themselves in this awkward situation when they are promoted to a leadership role in their current department. It can also happen when someone who’s been your friend, colleague or peer transfers into your department and now reports to you.
Sometimes, you’re asked to manage someone who’s been your personal friend for a some time. You have a history together beyond the workplace, where you share mutual interests. You could be members of the same social circle outside work.
Sometimes, the colleague you now manage is someone you’ve known only at work. You might lunch together frequently. This could be a co-worker you’ve taken into your confidence when you wanted to talk about problems at work – or even your old boss.
Whether close personal friend or familiar co-worker, there’s a bond, a relationship with some history and a set of expectations of one another.
When you become the boss, everything about these relationships can suddenly be uncomfortable. There’s a new set of groundrules to establish – as the manager, you are going be held accountable for the work performance of any friends or former co-workers on the team, and they are going to have to come to terms with the fact that they now report to you. Everyone involved can feel awkward and hesitant about the future.
Managing personal friends is tricky, in part, because you may want to sustain the relationship while succeeding in your new job.
With former co-workers, there can be other issues at play. If you’re taking charge of your current department, there could be people who:
- Wanted the promotion given to you.
- Feel you’re not qualified for the job.
- Deeply miss your predecessor and resent having to “start over” with someone else.
- Expect special treatment from you based on the connection you had as peers.
As the new manager, you will have a million things on your mind, from big stuff such as…
- Managing your own transition into your new role
- Building a good relationship with your new boss
- Establishing your credibility and expectations with your new team
…to practical stuff, like…
- Preparing the budget for the next quarter
- Conducting interviews for new employees
- Reviewing new policies and procedures
- And so on
The transition into management is challenging under any circumstances. Doing so when one or more members of the team are personal friends or former peers can be daunting. That said, it can be done. My new book, Managing Friends & Former Peers, will give you what you need to know to move forward with confidence and grace.
(By the way, for the purposes of a bit of shorthand, so I wouldn’t have to use the rather awkward phrase “friends or former peers” throughout the book, I coined a word: friendcos. “Friendcos” are either personal friends, former co-workers and colleagues, or both. Friend + Co – get it?)
This Just In Time ebook is focused on just one aspect of management – how to manage friendcos, a niche leadership skill which is a subset of broader leadership competencies – holding difficult conversations, coaching employees, and setting standards, to name a few. It puts a microscope on one very important skill – managing friendcos.
You can successfully manage people who’ve been your friend or co-worker. It won’t happen by chance, and it’s not a matter of pulling some management “trick” out of your hat. But you can learn how to do it, and you can apply what you’re about to learn right away.
Start your new leadership assignment with confidence. For about the price of a cup of coffee, you can order your copy today!