At some point in your career, you may be offered a promotion – and while it is exciting that your employer recognizes your potential, the fear of managing your peers or friends is a bit daunting. Transitioning into a new role may be met with jealousy or resistance from your peers. How do you handle transitioning into your new role gracefully and successfully?

There are no hard and fast rules about how to transition into your new role because the relationship dynamics is different in every situation. Here are some of the questions to ask:

How are you viewed today by your peers?

The relationship you have today with your peers is a starting point. If you are viewed positively by your peers, you have a great start. Your transition will be more difficult if your peers are jealous of you or do not like you. Liking you is not the same as respecting you.

How do you think your peers will view your promotion?

The attitude your peers take about your promotion will give you clues about whether they believe you deserved it. If your peers are less supportive of your new promotion, they may not believe you deserved the promotion or they believed they deserved the promotion more than you.

If you peers are supportive, then they believed you were the right person for the promotion! Your challenge is to continue that support while transitioning into the new role.

Is there a right way to transition into a new role?

The way you handle your promotion is evident. There are three reactions you may see with your peers:

  1. Alienation
  2. Support
  3. Ambivalence

It is better to transition into the role slowly – building confidence with them as their new manager. Avoid a sudden display of power or control, instead work on building trust.

Are you able to command respect at work?

If you don’t have respect dialed in before the promotion, it is unlikely that you will gain it afterwards without making some significant changes in how you work with your new team.

Generational differences in the workforce affect how respect is gained as a manager. For some employees, respect is positional, for others – respect is earned through actions or by demonstrating competencies.

What kind of conversations do you have with your new team?

One of the best ways to build trust and support with your new team is communicate with them. Be honest with them about the challenges you might face during the transition. They don’t expect you to know everything. If you let them think you already have all the answers, they will respond by testing you.

When you are open to feedback about what is working or not working during the transition, you have a built-in barometer about how things are doing and what your team is thinking. Be open-minded and adopt some of their suggestions. As you continue to build trust, you lay the ground work for a great manager – employee relationship.