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The companies we work with at Excel Communications are full of bright, enthusiastic and driven individuals; that’s more than likely  why you’re reading this blog post! 

Consequently, it’s logical that during your career you will step outside your comfort zone and manage a friend, co-worker or peer. 

In the spirit of authenticity let’s get real about the situation. 

I suspect you might have the odd wave of trepidation as you realise that you’ll be managing a few individuals who you know have a different mindset to you or way of communicating. 

You might have even had a disagreement with them, or worse still, turned a blind eye to their poor performance in the past which, drum roll, you now must manage! 

Welcome to the world of people management! The good news is that thousands of managers have walked in your shoes and survived. So, what are the critical areas to consider as your embrace the opportunity of managing your peers? 


Start With The End In Mind 

A well-recognised principle embraced by ambitious individuals is to have a career vision that is always front of mind.  

You’ll have no doubt heard before that when you attend an interview, it’s a good idea to dress for the role you want as a way to impress and demonstrate your personal brand. 

It’s no different once you start the job. 

From day one at your organisation, have your career end-goal in mind and let your behaviours establish your credibility, integrity and character from the start of your career. 


Detach Yourself From The Daily Lunch Dates 

Though there are some specific actions to take which we will come onto next, it’s a good idea to factor into your plan a change in your availability for a ‘gossip’ or extended lunch date. 

This isn’t about cutting off casual communication altogether, but instead, gradually removing yourself from the  office politics that goes on. 

You are a manager now and like it or not your relationships will change. 

Back in the day pre owning Excel Communications, I worked at GSK as a manager. I soon apreciated that a dregee of distance was critical to perform well in the role. 

Let’s be frank you can’t hang out talking about the latest espisode of Game of Thrones at Starbucks and then an hour later have a conversation with the same individual about their impending disiplinary review; might sound extreme I know and I am sure you get the picture. 

As you move away, then it’s essential to move forward too… 


The Power Of  One To One Meetings 

All to often the challenge for today’s managers and leaders is the ability to spend quality time individually with their team members. 

I appreciate the pace of business in the markets many of you operate in, can throw up time pressures. However, if you want to establish a great relationship with individual members of your team and have authentic dialogue, this one to one time is a ‘must do’ activity that is non negotiable. 

This is a good time to  reitterate your vision for the team and position yourself in  in your leadership role. 

Be authentic: If you know there are individuals in the team where your relationship isn’t what it could be; talk about it. Take the lead and create a solution together. It’s also a good idea to talk with those you may have been closer to; explain to them the change in your responsibilities and that it’s inevitable your relationship will shift slightly. It’s much better to talk about it than to ingore it. 

Let individuals know that as a manager you are still there for them and that it’s about working together. Make sure you are transparent about supporting their success too. Remember by 2020 the majority of individuals you manage will be Millennials, and development and improving their performance will be high on their agenda. 

This can be a great frame for your conversation. 


Face Challenges 

You may or may not encounter resistence or irreverence. If you follow the guidance above this is going to be minimised. 

Though if it does happen; tackle it head on. It’s a right of passage many of us encouter. 

Pull the individual aside privately and focus on their specific behaviours.  

For instance, “I noticed in the last meeting you were giving one word answers and of the three suggestions I made you disagreed with all of them without saying why. You were also rolling your eyes at Dan sitting next to you. What’s going on for you?” 

Remember to pause and wait for their response. Listen to what they say and move forward from there. There’s some great top tips about feedback in our other blog posts. 

Be strong and keep the faith. As a manager, consistency is key.  

If you can be consistent in all your actions, you will soon be the leader of the high performing team you’ve envisaged. 



Nic Hallett 


About Excel Communications 

Excel Communications has a 30-year history as a global leadership and communication skills organisation dedicated to exceeding the expectations of clients through the training and development of their business and people. 

We have a team of expert trainers delivering programmes across four continents in multiple languages. Isn’t it time you got in touch? Call us now on +44 (0) 1628 488 854.