top of page

When your friends become your subordinates

The promotion you have been working towards came as an affirmation for the years of hard work and accomplishment. You know that the promotion will be a career boost and pave the way for greater opportunities in the future. You have no doubt that you are the best candidate for this position. Your friends congratulate you and you are ready to start a new endeavor.

However, roles have changed and you are managing teams and projects. Your KPIs are now dependent on your leadership and your team’s performance. Your relationships have changed too when your friends become your subordinates and the power difference is necessary. You feel responsible for their work outcomes, their professional development, career, and possibly their grievances. You start to wonder if they are supportive of your promotion and if they harbor any resentment towards you. While you do not have control over how they feel towards you, you would still need to engage and mobilize them to perform.

There are several things you can do immediately when you assume this position.

Get to know your team

Spend time individually to learn about:

  • Their career aspirations

  • Their personal aspirations

  • What motivates them

  • Their skills

  • Their developmental needs

  • What they expect from you as a leader

Set clear expectations

With each individual, specify:

  • Work outcome they need to demonstrate

  • The resources they need to complete the work

  • The way you would provide feedback

Develop them

Identify individual developmental plan detailing when, where and how they will accomplish:

  • Their goals in the organization

  • Their knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to be successful

  • Training plans, such as workshop, new work assignments, coaching

Be friendly

You may feel guilty and experience a sudden loss of friendships with the change of roles.

  • Communicate to your subordinates about the change and what they can expect from you as a leader

  • Acknowledge that while the change puts you in a higher power as a new manager, you can still be friendly with your subordinates

  • Understand that to succeed as a new manager, it is more effective to be friendly with your subordinates, than to manage them as friends. When you manage them as friends, you may end up doing the work for them. As a manager, you provide guidance and mentorship

  • Managers do socialize and engage with their subordinates outside of work but they also keep it professional at work

For more coaching help, please contact us at to schedule for a consultation.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page