How to transition from peer to leader in your new leadership role

Have you been promoted to a leadership position Congratulations!

This is a significant milestone in your career and an exciting opportunity to take on new challenges. While the transition may come with its own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to working with former peers who are now your subordinates, there are ways to navigate this change effectively.

In this article, we’ll provide you with tips and strategies to help you successfully transition from peer to leader.

Leading former peers: A challenge for all involved

Adapting to the challenges of leading employees who were once your peers can be difficult for both parties. It is essential to be sensitive, understanding, and establish your credibility as a leader while earning the respect of your subordinates.

Acknowledge the change and challenge

It is crucial to recognise the change in your position and the challenges that come with it. Remember that you were chosen for a reason and that your abilities have earned you this promotion. Embrace this new challenge with confidence.

Don’t ignore the tension

Ignoring the tension and discomfort that comes with the transition from peer to leader can hinder building positive relationships with your team. Instead, acknowledge the situation and work towards building trust and respect with your former peers.

Finding a balance

Each relationship is unique, and finding the right balance with your new team will take time. It’s essential to establish clear boundaries and expectations openly and honestly, allowing for a period of adjustment for all parties involved.

Leading former peers can be challenging, but by acknowledging the change, building positive relationships, and finding a balance, you can successfully transition from peer to leader and lead your team to success.

Steps for a smooth shift from peer to team leader

Be confident

To inspire confidence in your team, you must be confident in yourself. Knowing your abilities and strengths is essential to establishing credibility in your new role. Lack of confidence can be sensed by your team and may lead to a lack of trust.

Announce your new role/signal the transition

Open communication is key to a smooth transition. Announcing your new role and signalling the change will demonstrate respect for your former peers and allow you to set the tone for the transition.

Hold one-on-one meetings with peers

Meeting with each of your former peers one-on-one is a useful way to build trust and address any concerns. It can also help you identify any team dynamics that may require attention.

Set professional boundaries

Establishing clear and unapologetic professional boundaries is crucial. This includes not engaging in certain social arrangements and being clear about what information can and cannot be shared.

Build trust

Trust takes time to build but is critical for success as a leader. Being honest, transparent, and consistent are essential for building trust with your team.

Take your time with major changes

Proceeding carefully and slowly during the transition period can prevent disruption and resentment. Treading lightly can allow you and your former peers time to adjust and find your feet.

Demonstrate your competence

Making informed decisions and demonstrating your willingness to learn and listen can inspire confidence in your team. Proving yourself a competent leader will establish credibility and show your former peers that you have what it takes.

Leverage your knowledge of the team

Your knowledge of your team can be used to establish credibility and achieve early wins. Using this knowledge can quickly build confidence and gain momentum.

Share your successes

Celebrating successes together and sharing credit will create a collaborative and respectful work environment. Sharing success as a leader will demonstrate your commitment to creating a positive dynamic with your former peers.

Expert recruitment and career advice

For more than two decades, Scotford Fennessy has been the trusted recruitment partner of job seekers and employers in Perth and across Western Australia. Whether you need guidance on advancing your career or transitioning from peer to leader, our team of specialists is ready to assist you. Contact us now.

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