Promoted Above Your Friends

How to deal with being promoted to managing your friends.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #74

Listener Peter writes in:

I work with many people whom I consider friends, but am about to be promoted to manager. I am concerned how to go from being someone at their level to being just above them and managing them. I want to be able to do my job but not make them detest me.

Peter, the quick and dirty tip is to find your common goals and form a partnership with your employees around those goals. 

You’re wise to be asking the question. One day, you’re hanging out with all your co-workers, scheming mercilessly about how to outwit that idiot boss you all report to. Then suddenly when you realize you just might be that next boss, somehow being on the receiving end of all that scheming seems much less attractive. Welcome to the wonderful world of management.

First of all, when you become manager, know what you’re getting into. Your job is to hire people, promote the stars, and fire nonperformers. That tension will always exist. But you can certainly do a lot to build a strong relationship with your employees.

You know why people hate managers? It’s because they think their manager is their enemy. The Evil Manager is there to work you as hard as humanly possible, at impossible quality standards. Your job is to valiantly resist do everything possible so you work as little as you can.

But there’s another way. Very few new managers know it, because they think being boss is about being bossy. But the best managers view their jobs as helping their people succeed. Your job as manager is to support your employees, so together, you can deliver results. If you’ll be able to keep good relations with your current friends, it will be because you all feel like you’re working together.

Align Your Interests and Roles

Get together with your new employees and be frank.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.