Promoted Above Your Friends

How to deal with being promoted to managing your friends.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #74

Explain your common goals and your new role: “We work for a company. They pay us to deliver. If we don’t deliver results, they shut us down, and we’re all out of work. So our job—all of us—is to keep things running smoothly, to keep us employed. As manager, my job is to help build a successful team. That means helping you do your job better, making sure you get rewarded when you do a good job, and helping people who are a bad fit move on.”

Then ask what they need from you. Listen and take notes. Also share what you need from them. Then together, review both lists. Agree on commitments: what you will do, what you will try to do, and what you won’t do. For example, you will give rapid feedback on people’s performance. You’ll try to schedule them at times they request. And you won’t fake their performance reviews or keep them around if they goof off without doing their job. (Personally, I am happy to let people goof off if they’ve done their jobs well.)

Get Mutual Commitment

Although my bachelor friends run screaming from the room when someone utters the word “commitment,” it’s fine for the workplace. Now that you agree, write it down and both of you sign it. Include the big goal—we’re here to make the store successful—and the commitments you’ll both make. This isn’t a legally binding contract; it’s just a way to make sure you’re clear about expectations and promises. This can become a touchstone for your relationship.

There’s no guarantee this will preserve your friendships, but it’s a start. By getting everything out in the open and creating an agreement together, you all own the working relationship. You can even get together, maybe over pizza and Juicy-Juice, and brainstorm how you can all help each other work better.


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.