How to Handle a Promotion Over Your Friends


Climbing the career ladder is not easy. Doing so over friends and peers whom you have worked side by side with for years makes getting a promotion even harder. But getting promoted over friends and colleagues you care about doesn’t mean you need to alienate them or cut ties. PrideStaff Financial shares how to handle a promotion and maintain the respect and friendships you have cultivated over the years.


Take the time to meet with them.

Congratulations—you’ve been promoted! You’ve worked long and hard for this, as have your peers who you may now be managing. As hard as it is, getting a promotion over your peers means making some changes you may not want to make. The first step should be to meet with them individually to talk about what this promotion means. How do they feel about it? Are they worried about anything? Let them know that certain things will need to change, but you haven’t changed as a person. Talk with them about their short- and long-term goals. What skills are they trying to build upon? What obstacles may get in the way of them doing their jobs? The message you’ll send by doing this is you respect them, and you’ll gain valuable information that can help you achieve buy-in.


Sociability will change.

Depending on the position you are promoted to, in order to preserve friendships, you may need to slightly alter your behaviors. For example, you don’t have to cut out happy hour completely; continue attending, but stay for only one drink. As a previous peer, many times those “happy hours” are used to unwind and vent. Now that you are in a higher-level position, recognize that staff and peers still need space to vent. It’s also a good idea to disconnect from those you now manage on all non-work-related social media. Let them know ahead of time that you will be taking this step and why you feel it’s a good idea. It will take the pressure off of them on what they can and can’t share on their profiles, and hopefully they won’t take it personally.


Stay objective.

In your new role, you will have to make some very difficult decisions. Maybe they concern bigger responsibilities involving hiring, raises, or promotions. What it comes down to is the ability to show your colleagues you don’t play favorites. Show you view everyone in the same manner and be objective no matter the task at hand. At the same time, be humble. Ask for occasional feedback from staff. Doing “check-ins” like this shows your staff you want the lines of communication to be open and you support a collaborative work environment.


If it’s your goal to rise through the ranks in your career, you need to be mindful of the challenges you will face as you do. Being a strong and effective leader means being able to recognize what you can do to create an environment of trust, value, respect and strong communication.


PrideStaff Financial is one of the nation’s leading recruiting firms. Our staffing consultants are trained to help you work through the challenges of growing in your career. Contact us today to learn more.