5 Tips for Leaders on Managing their Former Peers

By Alex Lawson

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

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Becoming a leader is bound to be one of the best opportunities of your life, especially if you’ve worked very hard to achieve that status.

Even though everything in terms of your career success seems to be going beautifully, there are still a few things to consider.

If your leadership position appointed you as the manager of your former peers, your social situation just drastically shifted. 

It’s a big transition for everyone, but taking the right attitude can help things move smoothly.

1. Give Everyone Time to Adjust

Slight awkward tension is only natural. Some of the people you’re now managing might have put in for the job you currently have, putting them in a little bit of a sore spot.

They may not know how to interact with you while they’re coming to terms with things, even if you have a track record of getting along great.

Trying to ignore the awkward feeling in the air or aggressively shutting it out won’t help. Try to see the situation through the eyes of your peers and be aware of their feelings.

You already got the better deal, and everyone knows it. Stay modest and be understanding. Time will help the adjustment.

2. Handle Social Friction Like a Pro

If your former peers feel let down or disappointed that your position is more significant than theirs, do what a great leader does.

After you’ve established yourself in your new job, ask them what you can do to help them. Do they want to move up? Do they want to change paths? How do they get there?

Help them create a plan for their career betterment and be sure they get the tools they need to follow it.

It shows them that you value them as both professionals and friends. You’re demonstrating that you want the best for everyone.

3. Keep the Essence of Yourself

The first line of business after becoming a leader is determining what kind of leader you’re going to be.

Experimentation with leadership styles is the only way to accomplish that goal, but don’t drastically change your personality.

Keep the essence of yourself as you dabble with different ways of overseeing situations or communicating important points.

Your peers know who you are, and foregoing drastic changes will make it easier for them to see the leadership potential in you. Be careful not to come across as a stranger.

4. Remember That Leaders Are Better Than Bosses

Even though you might feel like you need to be heavy-handed to be taken seriously among your peers, it’s important to keep things in moderation. Barking orders doesn’t establish leadership.

Great advice and support are the things your peers need. Be as available as you possibly can be.

Don’t just preach – do the things you’re preaching about and let people see the example you’re setting. Commend people for superior work.

Work relationships will flow naturally if they can see that you value them and your behavior suggests that you’re the perfect person for the position.

5. Be a Team Player

Remembering and maintaining your effective peer relationships with these people will only make your team more successful.

You have a shared history with your team members, and utilizing that history can make your team far stronger than a group of strangers who are yet to get to know each other.

Participate and don’t hide behind the scenes. Create a co-equal atmosphere where you, as a leader, are transparently working just as hard as every member of the team.

Eat lunch with them. Stay for the all-nighters and provide plenty of coffee and snacks.

Show them that you remember where you came from, even if your role in the social hierarchy is drastically different from the way it was when you were your peers.


Things are only new for a short period of time. That includes your change from peer to leader.

Time and patience are necessary for waiting out the bumps in the road or at least becoming accustomed to dealing with them.

Some of your peers may be slow to accept such a huge change, but they’ll come around. All you need to do is put your best foot forward and prove that the job was left in capable hands.

How Do You Lead Former Peers?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Alex Lawson
Alex Lawson
Alex Lawson is a Financial Team Leader and a blogger, working together with other experts at Brighter Finance. Whenever not working on another project or helping customers with their financial issues, Alex may usually be found online, reading money-related blogs and sharing his tips with other experts.
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