You’ve done it!! You got that promotion and have taken your first line management role.  And better still – you’re managing your own team; the one you were part of yesterday, so you’ll all friends and get along really well.  It’ll be a blast, right?


Then your conscience kicks in:  You’re now in a new role, you’re responsible, you need to impress your line manager and re-assure them that you can do this.  You need to start leading the team, setting objectives and managing performance.  That means no more looking at Instagram or Facebook when the boss is out, or messing around in meetings. You used to do that, but now you’re the boss, you need so set standards, so things need to change.


Think about it from your colleagues’ point of view, though; they’re thinking the same thing.  Are you going to be the same person tomorrow who used to joke along with them as their mate, or are you going to come in with a suit and a briefcase and start being a dictator?  It’s going to be a nightmare!!


Taking that first step on the leadership ladder, managing a team you were previously part of can be the most daunting and lonely step you’ll ever take in your management career.  You don’t know whether to be friends or the boss, and it is literally like walking a tightrope daily trying to work it out.  The team also doesn’t know how to treat you, so conversations can become difficult, you can feel isolated, they can stop talking to you and it can all become just a little bit awkward.  Just when you need re-assurance that you are doing ok and settling into your new role.


It doesn’t have to be that bad though, if you remember a few things. In your mind you have a new identity – as the line manager and that means you may be expected to do certain things and behave a certain way.  Your team may not see you in this new role, they may still think of you in your old identity of team member. So you need to help them understand that the shift in title, may mean a shift in how you do things, and that transition can be helped by having a series of conversations with your team.


The following steps will really help you in this, such as:

1. Setting Expectations: have a conversation with each of your team members

  • Find out how they feel about you changing roles and discuss any concerns they have
  • Find out what motivates them, and what they want from you as a line manager
  • Explain to them what is important to you and
  • Agree between you how you can both communicate and work best together.

 2. Explain the vision and have regular reviews

    • Give your team an overview of what you are looking to achieve and ask for feedback (don’t be afraid to do this, you need their help – you can’t do it on your own. Often a failing of 1st time managers)
    • Set objectives with them and agree as a team & individually how you will work towards the team objectives. If everyone is aware of the big picture and how they fit into it, they are more likely to pull together
    • Review objectives regularly: you should be holding 1 to 1 meetings with each team member weekly on operational stuff, and monthly on development stuff. Give them time to talk so you get feedback and don’t cancel these meetings because you’re busy. It says that person doesn’t matter and really annoys people

3. Develop them: delegate, coach and train your people

  • In your monthly meetings, find out our team’s development needs and either help them get training, coach them if they are able but need confidence, and stretch them be delegating tasks that will develop them. This will help you and them reach your goals.

Start having these regular conversations as soon as you become a line manager, and you will build strong relationships and gain in confidence, and soon the fact that you used to be team mates won’t matter.  You’ll have made that transition into leadership and be on your way!


Written and created by Annabel Graham.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we enable people to make the shift from colleague to manager then call us on + 44 1604 340990 or reach out to us via