Transition Into a Manager Role on Your Team

5 min

You’ll probably never be Secretary of State, but if you're a new manager, there’s a lot you can learn from Alexander Haig.

You don’t want to come in and slam your hand on the table, but you also don’t want to be a “super-peer” either.

And that's especially true if you're managing a team you used to be a part of.

You have to make the transition from peer to manager by establishing the right kind of authority and boundaries.

So how do you make the transition from peer to manager smooth for everyone on your team?

1. Establish credibility through action

As a manager, you need people to buy in to your vision, and to do that you need credibility. Take actions that establish your credibility and show how you’ll work as a boss. One of the best ways to do that is to meet with your team, as a group and individually, to discuss your vision.

2. Establish boundaries

There’s a chance you’ll have old friends on the team you’re now managing. You need to make sure that your relationship with them doesn’t seem unfair to the rest of the people on your team.

Talk to your friends on your team. Make it clear that you value your friendship, but also want to be fair to everyone. Your friendship outside the office doesn’t need to change, but your work relationship does.

At the same time, you don’t need to be completely cold to your friends. Your friendships won’t be a secret on the team.

Simply try to act in a way that shows everyone on the team you aren’t playing favorites.

3. Use the advantages that come with managing your former team

One advantage of being promoted within your own team is that you have a built-in sounding board for feedback. Ask reliable people in your team and organization for feedback on how you’re doing, and insight into what needs to be done.

Quiz 1 of 1

You’ve just been promoted to manager of your team. One of your best friends, Michelle, is on the team. How should you approach your friendship now that you’re the manager?

Don’t change anything about your friendship with Michelle.
Set a clear boundary with Michelle that your work friendship will change.
Stop talking to Michelle at work.
Ask Michelle if she'd like to move to another team.

Lesson complete

Learn more about how you can develop strong leaders and managers with Cornerstone Content Anytime Leadership and Management