It’s great when you move up in your job: You’ve moved up a rung on your personal career ladder, you’ve got a little more responsibility, a salary increase, and obviously the higher-ups feel you can do it. But what happens when that means you rank higher than your work colleagues? How do you manage relationships with friends now that you have power over their jobs? Honestly, you will likely have to refine things a bit to make it work. Here’s how:

  • Don’t keep it casual.

Those conversations you used to have at lunch, in the break room, and near your cubicle will probably need to come to an end. You don’t need to cut things off immediately, but slowly backing away from those more casual interactions will allow you to continue interacting while changing the dynamic. And remember that some of those conversations involved venting about work (and the boss). Give old colleagues the space to do this. Creating such boundaries will help you down the road should you need to address someone in your new role. 

  • Take on your role.

Now that you’ve become the boss, take on that mantle of leadership through how you address your old colleagues. Think of the best boss you ever had and you’ll likely discover that while they interacted with their staff, they carefully maintained that important line between boss and friend and rarely crossed it. So upon your promotion, acknowledge to your staff that you want to help them do their best so they can get promoted as well: You want to work together and help your employees do well, but you can’t engage in gossip sessions anymore. 

  • Think positively about the change.

Rather than lamenting the necessity of “losing” your work friends, view this as an amazing opportunity for you. Yes, you may miss the back-and-forth with them, but if you want to really do well in your current position, you have to let some things go. So you may look to friends outside of work…and now you can build relationships with your fellow managers and get to know your boss a little more. Look at it as a trade-off. That doesn’t mean you cast off those you once knew; it actually means you can have a great and open connection with your employees because you know them and want to act in their best interests.

Getting promoted over your friends may seem like learning a new and more complicated dance, but once you learn the steps, you’ll find you can take the lead and not miss a beat, to extend a metaphor. And if you need advice, visit the quality people at PrideStaff.

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