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From Peer to Boss: 3 Steps to a Successful Transition

Step 1: Get to Know Your New Team Members​

You’ve finally made it! – perhaps even to the corner office that you’ve aspired to for years.  It's very likely that in the process of applying, interviewing and being selected for the new position, you beat out some of the folks that will be part of the team you’ll be managing.  And to boot, some of them may feel that they are hugely more qualified, or at least, equally as qualified, as you are to do the job.


How do you deal with converting from peer to leader? How do you establish respect, without seeming like a tyrant?  Over the next month, I’m going to walk you through three easy steps that will assist you in establishing leadership amongst your former peers, or as the case may be for some, with a newly inherited team.


One of the hardest things I encountered was establishing my authority.  I ran into many who wanted to challenge me.  Be careful – you don’t want to come across too heavy handed.  Getting this right will take you far when it comes to building trust and establishing mutual respect. 


Schedule one on one meetings with each of your staff as soon as reasonably possible. The main purpose of these meetings is to open the door to effective two-way conversation between yourself and each staff member.  You’ll of course want to have a group staff meeting at some point, but to really get a pulse on your team, their roles, skills and abilities, what’s working, what’s failing miserably – you’ll need to speak with them individually, personally.  If your staff member is not physically located near you, make the meeting a video call if you’re able to.  There are many products and applications available that will make this an easy task. 


During your one-one-one meetings, ask questions, “What do you want to change in this team; What do you not want to change?”.  Find out what their style of communication is, what their role is on the team, what they like doing, and what they dislike doing.  Believe it or not, not everyone is working in their dream job; many are there to keep the lights on at home.  Ask about what challenges them, what they aspire to, what gets them out of the bed, and out the door each morning.  Ask about what they’re working on, what their priorities are, and what expectations they have of you as the new boss.  Share who you are; get to know them and let them get to know you on more than the surface-level.


In doing these things, you’ll lay the groundwork to begin building trusted, personal relationships with your new team. 


What have you found to be your best tactic in getting to know your new staff members?  Share with us in the comments section below.


Join us next week for part 2 of the Peer to Boss series, where we’ll look at “Developing the Team You’ve Inherited”.


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