You finally got that promotion and now you're the new boss. Things might not feel much different in the beginning, but managing former peers requires a major adjustment on both ends. How you handle the change at the outset can affect the long-term harmony and productivity of the group.
Accept that your relationships with co-workers will inevitably change, say experts. This can be hard if you were friends with someone you now supervise. You don't have to give up the friendship, but you do need to have a frank discussion outlining the new parameters of your relationship in the office. "This includes what you can and can't do," says Stephen Xavier, president and CEO of Cornerstone Executive Development in Chapel Hill, N.C. "Obviously, you can't participate in workplace gossip or any negative talk about co-workers." You also can't be as chummy as you were before and you might, say, have to give up your regular lunch dates with your former peer.
If the company doesn't provide management training, take a class, get a coach, read books and observe how other bosses handle subordinates. You want to strike a good balance of authority, says Bonnie Hagemann, CEO of Executive Development Associates in Oklahoma City, Okla. There's a tendency for new bosses to manage too harshly or be too lenient.