Tel: 0345 644 8955 (TPS Registered)

The Only Way is Up

The Only Way is Up

Being promoted from the shop floor to a management role has its challenges, especially if you must now manage your former peers.

While some people will be genuinely happy for you, and ready to follow you, there may be at least one person who resents you. They may think they can do a better job. Or maybe you didn’t really get on before and now they really don’t like you and they set out to undermine you as a leader.

You may also feel uncomfortable as people who were your peers, with whom you joked and perhaps socialised with now report to you.

As the new manager, you are responsible for the productivity and results of your department. Sometimes former peers won’t want to treat you as the boss and may resent the change in status quo.

One advantage you may have over an external new manager is that if you have been working with your colleagues for a long time, you probably know them well. That means you know their strengths and weaknesses, and you can set them up for success. Delegate work that you know they can do well and give them the trust and autonomy to do it.

How do you get to be accepted as the manager?

  • Set a good example. Always remain professional. Treat everyone fairly and courteously.
  • Recognise that your previous personal relationships with colleagues will have to change because you’re no longer their peer. You are now the person who allocates work, assesses productivity and provides performance reviews.
  • Find out what management training and support is available to help you develop management skills
  • Have a one-to-one with each team member to discuss how they feel about the change. Talk about the expectations you have of each other and get potential issues out in the open so you can deal with them.
  • Ensure that everyone on the team understands your new role as their manager and the responsibilities that are expected of you as well as the role each of them plays in the success (or failure) of the department.
  • Don’t gossip with your team and remember that while you can be friendly, you shouldn’t be over-familiar.
  • Don’t allow previous work and/or friendships with your former peers to influence your new managerial responsibilities.
  • Work out how you and your team can best work together to achieve the objectives of the department. Make sure you communicate those objectives.

Remember, your position as the new manager isn’t about trying to be popular; it’s about leading others to achieve results. Keep the focus on the work to be done, treat everyone consistently and it should work.


If you’re an employer with HR queries and problems, get in touch!

Sign up for our free resources and free weekly tip - subscribe here.

Phone 0345 644 8955
LinkedIn Russell HR Consulting


Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this blog, nothing herein should be construed as giving advice and no responsibility will be taken for inaccuracies or errors.

Copyright © 2019 all rights reserved. You may copy or distribute this blog as long as this copyright notice and full information about contacting the author are attached. The author is Kate Russell of Russell HR Consulting Ltd.

Got any HR queries?

Contact us