How to Transition from Peer to Leader to Successful Manager


With advancement comes a phase of adjustment and settling. Handling this shift can be both challenging and thrilling. Often people find themselves in control of others with whom they once worked. This is particularly difficult when it comes to holding them accountable and enforcing standards.

Smooth Transition

Also, new duties may be tough to reconcile with work. It is critical to have effective plans in place for a smooth transition. One that sets the tone for the management and team. Above all, it should preserve the team's coherence, motivation, and performance. Special focus must be put in place on how to manage the move from team member to team leader in a team-based organization. Crucial to such transition are some styles and steps that can be incorporated to counter challenges of former peers.

Change of Mindset

Crucial to the attitude of a new manager is their mindset. What has been successful in the past may not necessarily be today. A change of mindset to reflect the realities of the new position is needed (Conley, 2015). As a manager, one should acknowledge the awkwardness in order be able to focus. Acknowledging helps with making it go away and erase the tension amongst the team.

Development of New Skills and Habits

Development of new skills and habits can be vital in taking up on a managerial position. This will help with duties and responsibilities of a manager like mentoring and disciplining that previously were not there. Change in relationships should not be a new matter. Therefore, new boundaries might need to be set and does not mean having to stop hanging out with form peers completely. Separate interests of former peers and respect demanded as a manager.

Schedule a Meeting

A one-on-one meeting with each member or a group meeting will establish a foundation for a new relationship with former peers. Having conversations individually enables personalization of the message and can be more candid than a group setting. Limiting oneself to one option would be rather unwise. A unique setting will be to the advantage. Say a conference center outside town or a vibrant room. A familiar place for the participants would motivate them and help clear the atmosphere on the 'new boss'. Set aside considerable amount of time so that matters are not left out at the end of it.

A meeting where thoughts are shared freely and members are listened would be great since this will help in facilitating communication thereafter (Forbes Coach Council, 2017). This is so even though communication between the manager and former peers will be funneled due to change of the nature of their relationship. Information that would have easily be received is shielded. Use insider knowledge of people's concern to alleviate their needs instead. Meeting will go a long way to fostering teamwork in a department and trust hence performance is greatly improved. Purpose to create awareness of the situation.

Clarify Expectations and Intentions

As a general rule, it's easier to start a little 'tighter' with the team in terms of clarifying expectations and holding people accountable and then loosening up over time, versus starting too loose, having things get out of control (Conley, 2015).

Letting your team know your role and what it takes them to support you is important. As a new manager, it is key to understanding what is being expected from you and your team from the senior management and organization as a whole. As much as maintaining relationship is crucial, set clear boundaries from the start.

As a start, managers can begin working on complaints they together with their peers had on the previous one (Robert, 2016). This move enhances cooperation and shows that the support previously available whilst peers with team members is still on. Team members reserve a right to give their own input regarding what they would want to see. Sharing visions and goals strengthens the team because individuals feel a sense of belonging. As much listening as talking among the team is vital. This means being available to former peers but not too much to leave out on what is expected as a manager.

Blending views from the team and manager to have a common strategy brings clarity on the team's next steps (Gallo, 2012). It also fosters trust essential for a successful transition. Spend more time explaining the rules that are going to be followed. This way the manager avoids any disagreement later over boundaries. Knowledge of expectations builds confidence and gives direction essential to leading a team effectively. The clearer they are, the better to cultivate success and develop a winning strategy.

In the case where clarification of what is expected and the road to be taken by the team is unknown, there lacks a sense of vision. This is likely to bring downfall due to a dysfunctional team. As a manager, when either team member is being too much of a peer it is best practice to candidly inform them.

Seek Advice and Assistance

As much as the managerial position is deserved and is from exceptional work presented over time, turning to someone of probably higher position who has encountered such challenges is beneficial (Robert, 2016). Re-engineer relationships around to get more tailored counsel. This doesn't mean losing existing ones; it is for the purpose of mostly political advice which intensifies while rising up in an organization. Get some leadership training to become better by day. These skills and abilities learnt are a requirement in leading and managing people. If an organization offers in-house training on leadership, the individuals in the institution will be exposed to a variety of the interventions which is essential.

Also, one can sort mentorship from people of higher ranks. Insight and information from people who have walked the same path improves the chances of success. Someone with a great track record and is willing to offer advice would be an ideal mentor. Sharing transition difficulties with someone who has being through the same will best inform the manager of what to expect. An open mind while transitioning is important to good performance. Growth and opportunity is best achieved from taking lessons far and beyond the manager's setting.

Partner with Senior Management

Take time to understand on the elements that you and your team will be held accountable for by the senior management. They could be the priorities you should focus on, how performance is being measured and the objectives set out by the seniors. By doing so there is even a clearer sense of direction with such knowledge and leading the team can be done effectively. Ensure that the goals of the manager, team and organization are in alignment (Gallo, 2012). Capitalizing relationship with both former peers and people ranked higher in the organization during transition greatly builds up on the success of the organization. Being part of the team formerly aids the manager to have a wider picture of the company goals.


In conclusion, professional advancement from such a perspective where new managers were part of a peer can be challenging. Transition needs firm personality that can be able to have a successful leadership, at the same time maintain social interactions. Dedication and recognizing new position as a destination rather than a journey are key in embracing the move from a friend and peer to being a boss. Negative outcomes such as impaired functionality, stress and conflict in a team should be aggressively avoided. Influence must be achieved over the team without disrupting their relationship. Recognizing that the team was doing their job and prevents newly promoted managers from going overboard. Relationships are maintained too.


Conley, R. (2015). Moving from peer to boss- 5 Steps to success. Leading with Trust. Retrieved from

Forbes Coach Council (2017). Promoted from peer to leader? 18 ways to make a smooth transition. Forbes. Retrieved from

Gallo, A. (2012). How to manage your former peers. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

Luthans, F. (2005). Organizational Behavior. McGraw Hill : United States.

Robert, H. (2016). From peer to boss: How new managers overcome the challenges. RobertHalf. Retrieved from

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