At Mentor EU we often work with clients who either want to make a move to a managerial position or got promoted and need to change their relationship with co-workers from that of peer to boss. Moving from colleague to boss is a big transition and can generate feelings of awkwardness until things settle down. Should the transition be handled badly, the performance of your department could be affected for years to come.

In a supervisory position you are the leader. The performance of the department is how you will be judged. It is important you shape your vision for it in the early days.

One of the issues with transitions of this kind is that the people that used to be equals and friends are now your subordinates. This shift in the dynamic of your relationship ruffles feathers. Although upper management had the faith to promote you, members of your team may disagree, especially if they applied for promotion as well.

As the new manager it is your job to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible so productivity is not adversely affected. This post will give you ideas on how to minimise awkwardness, disruption, and redefine your relationship as the manager.

Redefine Workplace Relationship Dynamics

A key aspect of making a successful transition from an immediate colleague to manager is to redefine the working relationships. In the first instance hold a departmental meeting and discuss expectations. Try and get all the issues into play. You can then address them.

Do this individually as well. Make sure you lay down clear expectations and that each team member understands their role and objectives. Just as importantly, let the other person speak freely and express their views. Listen to what they say. That said, this is your gig now and it is important you have the confidence to run the department the way you want to.

Take Advice

It is a good idea to speak to mentors if you have them and get their view on the situation. They can bring fresh perspectives and give you ideas. Speak to HR as well as they may give you options and support you never knew was available.


Now you’re the boss you have to be more professional than you were before. No more bitching about managers even if you are unhappy about decisions. You’re no longer one of the gang but a leader. Your views should publically support senior management or at the very least focus on the objectives they set, even if privately you disagree with them. By not participating in gossip you are taking a significant step in redefining yourself as a manager and not one of the gang.


When working through how the department will work and to cope with busier times, it is important to make sure to include the team in strategy making. You will benefit from team members who have their own ideas as it is unlikely that one person can think of everything. It is also important for the team to feel included and that their opinions count. As well as formulating better strategies it is a good team bonding exercise.


Before you were manager you would have bonded better with some colleagues more than others. Now you’re the manager you have to put these old friendships on the back burner and judge everyone fairly. Your department will be more productive this way.

I’m Onboard but what next?

The best option if you have just made the transition to manager or have aspirations of doing so is to undergo leadership coaching. It will make you a better leader right from the start, and you will understand that leadership is not just about strategy but about coaxing the best performances from your team. Our leadership coaching will help you make a smoother transition to manager, avoiding mistakes that could cost your reputation.