NewsHow To Manage A Team Of Your Peers

How To Manage A Team Of Your Peers


The best part of leading a team of your peers is that they already know you. However, they know you as their peer.  Now they need to get to know you as their manager. 

Dear Fairygodmentor
I was just promoted from team leader to manager and must now lead a team of my peers. We got along great as a team before this promotion. I want to continue to keep the vibe going but now they have to take direction from me.  How do I do this smoothly without burning any bridges?
I appreciate you!

Best wishes,
From Peer to Manager

Dear From Peer to Manager
First, let’s take a moment to celebrate this milestone! Congrats!  One of the many reasons why you were selected for this role is that you exemplified the skills, knowledge and ability to lead this team to excellence.  Let that reality soak in a moment.  We get so caught up in the climb that we forget to look out at the summit. Marinate in this awesome career moment.
Write this career moment down along with your other wins in your DIG Folder so you don’t forget them.  What’s a DIG folder? It’s a Damn I’m Good Folder. Each night at 7 pm, I write down all of my glows (wins) and grows (opportunities for growth) for the day.  I track them.  I am able to refer to them when I have doubts about the magic that I bring into this world so they can hype me up. I also refer to them when interviewing or writing up my year-end reviews, so I don’t have to wrack my brain trying to remember what I did all year. You can also encourage your team to keep their own DIG Folders too.

The best part of leading a team of your peers is that they already know you. However, they know you as their peer.  Now they need to get to know you as their manager.  This can be a tricky transition.
Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with each team member.  Get to know them on a direct report level.  Having regular one-on-one meetings with your team will foster communication and trust and keep you apprised of what’s going on.

A Fairygodmentor® of mine introduced me to a How I Like to Be Coached form.  I’ve since edited and altered it to my leadership style and it breaks the ice with the folks that report to you.  It asks questions like: “What’s your communication style?” “How do you like to be recognized?” “What are your career goals?”  I use this form as an agenda and blueprint of future conversations with each team member.
My next piece of advice is to keep it real. Be transparent but only share what they need to know.  Remember you’re their manager now, they have confidence that you are in place to take this team to the next level.  It takes time to build trust and only seconds to break it.
 Find other confidants and mentors at your level to share insecurities. At one point in my career, I had the opportunity to lead a team of my peers.  I shared with my new direct report that I was nervous about speaking to upper management. I learned quickly through the grapevine, that my overshare shattered her confidence in my ability to lead.   I had to work very hard to win back that direct reports’ confidence and trust in my ability to lead the team effectively.  Luckily, it didn’t take too long to accomplish that through my actions.
It can be very easy to blur the line between being a peer and a direct report. Keep your professional distance and document your work conversations even if you think they’re just a casual chats.  This may prove very useful in the future.
Think about what you didn’t get from your past manager.  What do you want to do differently?  How would you have liked this manager to have treated you and your fellow peers? What do your peers want to see in their new manager? Use these answers to fuel your drive to lead the team to success.  This is your show now!
Finally, ask for feedback on how you can help make things even better on the team.  What do you need to stop, start or continue?  They need to know you’re not a carbon copy of your past manager.  Discuss expectations of them and, conversely, ask what expectations they have of you.  Communication is key.  Including your team in the vision and mission will create more buy-in, give them a sense of pride and purpose and strengthen your connection.
Keep going! You got this!
Your Fairygodmentor®

(Image courtesy of Kirsten White Photography)
Joyel Crawford is an award-winning career and leadership development professional and the founder of Crawford Leadership Strategies, a consultancy that develops empowered, results-driven leaders through engaging leadership development coaching, training, and facilitation. 
Have a question about handling a micromanager? Are you having difficulty navigating spaces because of your hair? Is work stressing you out? Do you need support coaching poor performance, or are you wondering how to effectively negotiate and get the job offer you desire? Do you have any questions about career and leadership development? 
Ask Your FairyGodMentor® here.
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Source: Black Enterprise

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