From manager to the boss

You’ve been promoted from an on-site to a portfolio manager, and are now supervising former peers. Many find the transition to an elevated position stressful. You want to maintain your friendly relationships at work, but need to earn a new respect from your past co-workers, who are now your subordinates.

Treat your direct-reports equality

If was natural to have close, easy-going relationships with co-workers with whom you shared common roles. But, now you need to avoid favoritism and treat subordinates based on objective criteria rather than personal friendships.


Communicate expectations for your team. Accept feedback regularly, and address issues promptly.

Lead by example

Hopefully, you were an ideal employee before your promotion. But now your standards should represent the behaviors and qualities you expect from your team.


Acknowledge team members’ strong points and contributions. As a fellow co-worker your praise would be considered a compliment. As a supervisor they provide a supportive work environment and encourages continued dedication from your team.

Separate work from social

Keep your positive personal relationships with team members. However, choose your words carefully. Your comments can now have professional repercussions.

You’re not going to win them all over

Some of your co-workers may have difficulty accepting you as their boss. Understanding why can help:

  1. It can be challenging for co-workers to adjust to the new hierarchical relationship.
  2. Based on past relationships, some team members may have concerns about favoritism or bias
  3. Some struggle with their insecurities or ego when someone they previously worked with rises to a higher position. They may feel threatened or overshadowed, leading to resistance.
Go slow

Don’t make too many too changes at once. Allowing time for your co-workers to accept you as their boss is crucial. Transitioning from a co-worker to a role as a superior is a significant change, and it takes time for people to adjust to the new dynamic. Eventually the new dynamic will be accepted.