Learn common challenges associated with managing people who used to be your peers.
- [Roberta] Management is hard. Now add the challenge associated with managing people who used to be your peers and you've got quite a task in front of you. I'm going to walk you through the four biggest challenges associated with managing your former peers. I'm going to start with the most difficult first which is having to fire a former peer who is now a friend. It's common for peer relationships to strengthen over time since you're basically in the same boat.
Some of you may have taken these relationships one step further. You know each other's significant others and kids. Now imagine you have to tell this former peer he is about to lose his job. This is a tough one and you'll probably lose more than a few night's sleep over this. Try to separate your personal feelings from the business decision. There's a business reason you are letting this person go.
You can however, help soften the blow by negotiating a good deal on behalf of your employee. Another challenge? Hiring someone from the outside to supervise your former peer group. Suppose your promotion was part of a grander plan. You were placed in a position of leadership with the expectation that you'd be hiring a supervisor to work under you. This person will directly oversee your team of former peers.
You know from personal experience that your team doesn't work well under the direction of one of their own. You hire someone from the outside for this new role. You've now got to tell members of your former peer group who've expressed interest in moving up that they're being passed over for a promotion yet again. Be honest. Explain why you believe this decision is best for the team and be prepared that people may quit.
One of the least favorite challenges is giving negative feedback to a former peer. It's never easy to give negative feedback. Now you've got the added burden of telling a former colleague that her work is not up to standards. Look, you owe it to your people to give them feedback so they can improve their performance. Focus on what specifically needs to change and offer your support. The rest is up to her.
Giving the plum assignment to someone other than your peer is another big challenge. Let's suppose you've recently hired new people into your department whose capabilities are different than your former peers. A special project comes along that you know is best suited for one of the new hires. You give it to them while a former peer gives you the evil eye from across the room. Here's how you handle this.
Your performance and your ability to secure additional resources for your team will be dependent on the overall performance of your team. You made the right call. If need be, take the disenchanted worker aside and explain what he needs to be doing differently so that in the future, he's the person you turn to when projects like this one come along. I'm sure there are a dozen more challenges that you can think of when faced with the task for managing former peers.
I've picked the more common ones. Now you know what to expect and you have some tools on how to handle these situations. You're well prepared to manage a former peer.
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- The first 90 days
- Building productive relationships
- Why engage your employees?
- Influencing employee commitment
- Managing your former peers
- How to go from friend to boss
- Developing the skills needed to be an effective manager
- Becoming a magnetic leader