In this blog, we are going to explain Leading Peers – Learning how to manage former peers
One measure of leadership is the calibre of the people following you.
You are working and growing with a company. You are working hard to get your best out of yourself. And, one day your hard work is paid off. Your HR informs you that now you are going to lead the team you were working with.
What could be your reaction?
But then, the very next moment you realize that you will have to lead your team with whom you were working for so long. In other words, you need to lead your peers.
Now, it seems more challenging! Right?
This is a very common situation in any usual organisation. In such situations, one often gets into awkward situations and gets ambiguous thoughts regarding this.
Everything goes great if the former peers and you had a great relationship. Their deep friendship could participate in your growth and others could be happy for you.
But, this turns to be untrue if even one of the peers is not happy with the HRs decision, and thinks that he/she was more capable than you and deserves to be the team leader. This may lead to further resentment.
In such cases, their strong belief of you not being capable enough to lead the team can also make one diffident and lose their self-confidence to be in the position, especially if that person is close to you.
This could be the worst that could happen. We understand that this is a very delicate situation. And, acting according could be equally challenging.
There cannot be any mathematical formula to crack such problems but could be some helpful guidelines. So, let’s have a look at what should and shouldn’t be done in such situations.
WHAT’S IN IT
How to take the offer of Leading Peers?
The first and foremost thing is to realize that you have been chosen as a Leader for a reason. Whatever may the peers think about it, doesn’t change the decision.
This is the company’s decision taken by some experienced leaders, and it is equally inevitable. So, you must embrace it with gratitude, relax, be confident and use these feelings to fight the upcoming challenges.
Types of People and How to deal with them:
Firstly, Supports the decision–
These are the people who you will find always supporting you. They are hopeful of the situation, as they know that since you have worked with them so long, you know the areas where they are facing difficulties, and you could be the one helping them.
They are also the motivated ones who will feel that just like you have been rewarded for your hard work, the same could happen to them.
You’ll often find yourself talking to them, and they would be making close relations with you. Since they establish a friendly relation with you, they could be the ones who can tell you the fault in your decisions.
The mistake one can do here is that you can become so comfortable with them, that they can easily take advantage of you.
Here, you will have to realise and make this clear that their ideas and suggestions regarding your decisions are always welcomed. But, still, you are the one making the final decision.
You might need to make some tough decisions in the favour of the company in the long term even if these supporters are against it.
Secondly, Doubts the decision-
There will be some people who would not be happy with you being the team leader. Either they would have someone else to suit this position, or they would think that rather they are more deserving than you are.
These kinds of people are the ones who result in major problems. Messing with them would cost you hard for leading these peers.
They usually observe you more closely, find your flaws and gaps, and would be the ones complaining about it publicly. Sometimes, even spreading rumours about you.
You can either simply ignore them and continue with your work. But sometimes even this could be dangerous.
So the next thing is to confront them. Confront here does not mean fighting or argue with them. Instead have a conversation with them, where you’ll be removing the elephant in the room right away.
Talking about the elephant in the room
In the conversation, you need to tell them that you also admire the quality of their work. Here, try to find their quality and address them.
Accept it in front of them, that it might be difficult to accept that the company has chosen you over him/her, but ultimately it is the company’s choice.
You need to tell them that if they have any suggestion or idea, they are always welcome, but there could be certain situations where you might not agree with their solutions.
There you would be taking decisions against their will, and you would need their support.
As it is known popularly, “Once I addressed the elephant, we were able to kick him out of the room.” You will also find the situation would be much in control.
Thirdly, and most importantly, Worries about the decision-
These are the people who struggle within their mind. You being the new leader of peers would bring change and they fear change.
They would imagine millions of mishaps in their mind that could happen because of the relationship they shared with you previously.
They fear that they could be replaced, or misled. Or they could be just fired.
In such situations, it is always the best approach to let them speak up about their concerns, no matter how implausible they are.
How to use your previous position’s advantage?
Being a leader of the team you were working with previously could be the best thing possible only if you know how to use your previous experiences.
As you were working with the team for a while, you might have a closer knowledge of the personal qualities of the individuals in the team. You might be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
This is the point where you can take advantage of it. You can easily delegate work among the team members accordingly.
This can be fruitful in building relations with the members. As they are also aware of the problems you already know of what they are facing and you were unable to do anything previously.
This is your take now. You could now address them individually and come up with a solution for them.
In conclusion, Now if you got the opportunity to lead your peers then you need not worry. You know how to take this offer as well as you now know What Types of People can be and How to deal with them.
If people have selected you as their leader, then you should understand that there is something in you that is different from rest of the people. Focus on your strengths and sharpen them. This will also boost your confidence.
Also you can read our blog on The Agile Leader