Promotion from the Shop Floor
06 November 2019

Being promoted – new managers – managing your peers

Everyone wants to succeed at work, but there are challenges if you’re promoted from the shop floor to a management role, especially if in consequence you must manage what were your former peers.

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

One of the problems may be resentment. Some people will be genuinely happy for your success, and be ready to follow you, but there may be others who resent you. Perhaps they 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.

As a new manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the team you’re leading are productive.

If you have been working with your colleagues for a long time, you probably know them well and this may give you an advantage over an external new manager. 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.

So, how do you get to be accepted as the manager?

  • 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.
  • Set a good example. Always remain professional. Treat everyone fairly and courteously.
  • 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.

Bear in mind that 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.

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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 © 2023 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.