Relationships After Promotion

Managing Peer Relationships After a Promotion

Ask The Expert

By Barbara Mitchell

Q: I just got promoted and am aware that my relationships with people who were previously at a higher level than me and are now my peers have changed significantly. Do you have any tips for how I can develop new and positive relationships with them?

A: There isn’t much difference between evolving your relationships with people who knew you in your former role and developing relationships from scratch in a new organization. In this case, you can use the fact that the people you work with knew you in a previous role to your advantage.

Keep in mind that you were promoted because your organization saw value in your past contributions and now is investing in you as you move into a role with more responsibility. You can build on that as you work in a different capacity with your new peers.

Start by scheduling a meeting with each of your colleagues, preferably in an informal setting. For example, you can meet briefly for coffee or lunch outside the office and ask questions like:

  • What are the greatest challenges you face right now?
  • How can my team support you in achieving the results you want?
  • Are there ways we can collaborate to make a positive impact on the organization?
  • What would you suggest I do differently as I take on this new role?

A good way to develop a positive relationship with anyone—but especially with peers—is to always deliver on your promises.

A good way to develop a positive relationship with anyone—but especially with work peersis to always deliver on your promises. If your peers learn they can expect you to do what you say you will do, they will trust and respect you. Here are some ways to build that trust:

  • Keep your commitments and meet deadlines.
  • Be responsive to requests from peers.
  • Don’t gossip about peers with your team or anyone else.
  • Be a team player and collaborate.
  • Share successes with others—don’t hog all the glory!
  • Quickly resolve conflicts that arise with other departments or leaders.

You can also get to know your peers better as people by showing genuine interest in their lives outside of work, especially when you interact informally, such as at lunch and after-work gatherings.

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR and The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook. Do you have a question you’d like her to answer in “Ask the Expert”? Send it to [email protected].

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