Managing Former Peers: What to Do When You Get Promoted

A promotion is a great thing, but it can also be difficult to manage old friends who have been promoted up the food chain. Here are some tips on how you should approach your former peers and what to do when working with them again.

When you get promoted, there are a lot of things to take into account. One thing that can be difficult is dealing with your coworkers when you get promoted. This article will help you understand what to do when you get promoted. Read more in detail here: how to deal with coworkers when you get promoted.

Businessman sitting on chair in his office.

You’ve been at your job for a few years and have been striving for a promotion to a higher position for nearly as long. One day, the desired position becomes available, and your supervisor invites you into his office to inform you that you have been hired. Of course, you’re ecstatic. That’s how it should be! But you’re also a little apprehensive. You’ve given a lot of consideration to gaining this promotion, but you haven’t given much attention to the reality of what your new job would involve. How will you manage it, especially if you’re pitted against people who used to be your peers? You’ll be in charge of the people with whom you used to complain; you could even become “the guy” about whom others wish to complain.

Many promotions include going up the corporate ladder and managing colleagues with whom you previously collaborated. That’s how company structures function. Even if you were previously a manager, you may have risen through the ranks and are now in charge of other managers. Whatever the situation, there will almost always be some discomfort and politics to deal with.

(Of course, this does not include all promos.) Without going into a new management post, you can only obtain a new title, a raise in compensation, and some new duties. In certain circumstances, the adjustment is likely to be a bit easier.)

If you’re in a new role where you’ll be responsible for your former coworkers and/or current pals, here are some pointers on how to make the transfer as painless as possible:

Celebrate! (However, quietly)

You have earned a raise! Huzzah! You have every right to rejoice. Get a new suit or briefcase, take your family and/or friends out to a nice restaurant, and enjoy the fact that your hard work has paid off.

However, do not do so in front of your employees (possibly now your subordinates). Take a break from the victory lap around the office and the “Yippee!” chants. “Suck it, losers!” says the narrator. Of sure, wear your new suit to work, but don’t boast about it as a reward for being promoted. Don’t tell your coworkers that you had the world’s most costly and best-tasting steak the night before. Keep your calm, guy. Rubbing it in their faces, particularly if it’s someone you don’t like, may be what you want to do, but it won’t get you off to a good start at your new job.

Recognize the Change

Just because you aren’t going to celebrate your promotion in front of your colleagues doesn’t mean it will go unnoticed. It’s not a terrible idea to hold a quick face-to-face meeting with the people you currently oversee and talk about how the relationship could evolve in the future. You may say anything along the lines of:

“Of course, things have changed since then, but as your boss, all I want is for you to succeed.” Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any concerns; my objective is to offer you with the training, skills, monitoring, and atmosphere that will help you succeed here. Here’s how I see our team and how we’ll work together… Do you have any immediate concerns or questions? Do you have any suggestions about how things should be run?”


Start with a blank slate.

If you’re now in charge of some of the individuals you used to be peers with, it might be difficult to forget some of the antics they got up to: Bill had a few too many beers at a company-sponsored networking event; Rob phoned in sick, but you knew he was simply at home watching March Madness (and texting you the whole time).

What do you do now that you’re in charge of these people? The greatest strategy is to clear the slate of any previous wrongdoings. That doesn’t imply you should ignore future instances of bad manners or violations of corporate standards, but it does mean you should forgive and forget incidents that occurred before you started your new job.

Act as though you now have more responsibilities.

While a promotion usually entails a raise in pay and, in some cases, a new office all to yourself, it also entails more responsibilities. You may now have access to more sensitive information or just more access to higher-ranking employees. Your superiors (not necessarily micromanaged, but in a “can he handle this?” type of manner) and those you’re now in charge are definitely watching you a little more.

If you were accustomed to being 5-10 minutes late on a daily basis, make it a habit to be 5-10 minutes early instead. If you used to complain with your colleagues about ineffective corporate regulations or talk about coworkers, make it a point to avoid such topics. Your example matters a lot more when you’re in a higher position. People will see your tardiness or gossiping as a sign that it’s good to do such things on occasion.

Also, be sure you’re not disclosing confidential information to those who don’t need to know. Hold it in. Maybe you now know the CEO’s salary, or you discovered some strange habit of his that will make your friends chuckle – whatever it is, keep it in. Take the new position’s responsibilities seriously.

Don’t take it personally if you’re treated differently…  

When you’re promoted, your connection with your previous coworkers is certain to alter, particularly if you’re now directly supervising them. Don’t be shocked if you’re not invited to happy hour or if the breakroom is quiet when you arrive. There’s a power dynamic at work here that can’t be overlooked; your old buddies don’t want to put themselves in any kind of jeopardy. It’s a painful fact, but it’s one you’ll have to embrace. You don’t want to be the supervisor who longs to work with his previous staff again.

Your conversations may be a bit more stilted, but if you work hard to make everyone feel at ease and heard, you’ll be able to keep the strong connections you had before, but with somewhat altered dynamics.


… In fact, you should set certain limits for yourself.

Even if your colleagues are OK with you still joining them at the water cooler or going out to lunch together, it may be a good idea to withdraw yourself — at least temporarily — from such situations. If you’re now the boss, having a strictly cordial connection won’t give you the power to deal with issues as they arise, whether they’re little (like subordinates taking slightly longer lunch breaks) or major (like subordinates taking slightly longer lunch breaks) (like needing to fire them). If your connection does not alter in the slightest, your leadership in general may be called into doubt.

You’ll start to create the aura of authority that you’ll need in your new role if you avoid informal chit-chat and accept fewer lunch invites. It isn’t always enjoyable, but it comes with the territory of more responsibility. Accept the change and use it to broaden your social circle outside of the workplace. Workplace friendships may be fantastic at times (in fact, you need one! ), but they aren’t always the most durable or important.

Now, if you’ve been promoted to a new division or office and are no longer directly directing the folks you previously worked with, there’s nothing wrong with continuing to retain those ties.

Slowly make changes

If you’ve been promoted, it’s possible that it’s because you’ve had some amazing ideas that have been executed, and you’ll have even more in this new role. However, don’t make too many changes at once. Even though certain systems and procedures are obsolete, you don’t want to alter the way things have been done for years until you’ve been in your new job for a time. Making major changes as the new person on the job may seem foolish to others, as if you don’t have enough experience to properly comprehend what’s going on. That is, in fact, correct. Problems will often seem different on the inside than they did on the outside; you’ll learn about subtleties and intricacies you weren’t previously aware of.

So, before you go about making major, sweeping changes, take some time to understand the lay of the land and get adjusted to your new position. When you do, it will seem more calculated rather than a rash need to alter things only to change them.

You don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes or hurt anyone’s feelings before you even begin.

Learn what you haven’t learned yet.

It’s likely that when you transition into a new position, you’ll find you have a lot to learn. You were most likely in your previous employment for at least a couple of years, during which time you learned the ins and outs of your work like the back of your hand. After a while, you simply get into a nice rhythm, and you’ve probably forgotten how much you had to learn and how difficult things were at first.


You’re beginning from fresh in a new job, even if it’s inside the same organization. You’ll have to learn new procedures, work with new supervisors, and, most likely, develop new talents and managing practices. 

You’ll need to study how your team performs best and what inspires them individually and as a group, especially if you’re new to managing people. You’ll need to brush up on dispute resolution, negotiation, delegating, and other related skills. Another reason you shouldn’t make drastic changes right away is that you may have a lot to learn, particularly about how your team functions, and you don’t want to jump the gun before you’ve gathered enough information or skills.

Act as though you belong there.

Even if you’ve worked hard to get there, it might seem like you’re faking it or pulling a fast one on your superiors when you’re promoted. However, the fact is that you did put in the effort, and you were promoted for a cause. Don’t be shy or shy in your new position; behave as though you belong there. Fake it till you make it, then put on the command mask.

Consider altering your appearance to match your new role. Perhaps in your previous position, you wore khakis and a polo or a long-sleeve button-up shirt. Now that you’ve climbed the corporate ladder, try gently upgrading your clothing as well, even if you don’t have to. Add a blazer or two to the mix, upgrade your shoes and other accessories, and wear a suit now and then (as long as the suit is one notch or so above what everyone else is wearing; you don’t want to wear a suit when the workplace uniform is jeans and a polo; in that case, know how to rock a sports jacket with jeans).

Your new outfit will serve as a signal of authority not just to others, but also to yourself, assisting you in mentally stepping into your new job and adopting a more confident mentality.

Mentor Your Employees

Support your subordinates as much as possible and assist them in improving their skills. Take the time to educate them; don’t simply tell them what to do; show them how and why they should do it. Praise others both individually and publicly. Listen to their suggestions and, if they’re excellent, forward them to your boss.

Mentorship helps not just your subordinates, but it also benefits you: your bosses are unlikely to offer you another promotion unless they are convinced that someone in your department is ready to take your position. As you assist others behind you in moving up, you are also assisting yourself in moving up!



When you get promoted from within, the “challenges of being promoted” will be a lot to handle. It is important that you know what to do when this happens. Reference: challenges of being promoted from within.

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