Your Friend is Promoted as Your New Boss… Now What?

When you work somewhere long enough – or even when you’re just starting a new job, it’s only natural to make a couple of work buddies. Sometimes these buddies can end up becoming really close friends, and these friendships often go beyond the workplace.

Working with friends is fun – you get to catch up every day at the office, and it can make things seem more manageable.

But what happens when your work colleague – who’s now a close friend – gets promoted as your new boss?

How can you still be good at your job and maintain a great friendship at the same time? Here are eight tips to help you adjust to this new transition:

1. Suck it up.

Even if you’re seething with jealousy, or have other negative emotions about your friend’s new promotion, don’t let it show. This is only going to make you look petty and unprofessional. As difficult as it might be, put on a brave face, smile and congratulate her as soon as possible. Find out what you can do to make the transition smoother.

2. Accept that your relationship will change.

Gone are the days of pulling your friend aside and moaning about your boss (or anything else work-related) in the office. Your friendship at work will change, and you’ll both need to detach a little on one level during work hours. Keep things friendly, but stay professional. Once you leave the office, it’s up to both of you how much – or how little – office talk you allow into your friendship.

3. Be prepared for judgement.

This promotion comes with strings attached for both of you. You’ll be watched by colleagues and management for any hints of favouritism, so don’t go expecting special favours or asking for them. As long as you keep things on a professional level and the lines of communication open, it won’t matter who’s watching.

4. Find a support replacement.

You and your friend might still be buddies outside of work, but you’ll lose some parts of your old relationship. Finding new support systems with people in similar roles to you, will help things feel a little easier and a lot more manageable.

5. Learn not to take things personally.

It’s not fun when your friend criticizes or corrects your work in front of others, and it’s going to be challenging not to take things personally. But, just remember – your new boss has a company standard to uphold, and her own set of rules to follow from high up. As long as your friend isn’t singling you out on a regular basis, accept that it’s not a personal attack on you.

6. Be the positive influence in the office.

You might not be the only one who’s coming to terms with your friend’s new position. This could cause resentment in fellow colleagues, or create a negative energy within the workplace. Be a positive voice for your friend and explain to other colleagues that this new boss has a lot on her plate right now – new responsibilities and a brand new role. Let them know that their support during this transition is important.

7. Realise that the lines of friendship may be blurred in the beginning.

Depending on your type of friendship and both your personalities, it could take a little trial and error in the beginning to adjust to this new situation. Go for a coffee after work and talk about ways you could both make things a little easier for each other at the office – while staying professional. Take this opportunity to be honest and express your feelings if something’s bothering you, but don’t put your friend in an awkward position for when you’re at the office. Learn to try and separate the two with some basic ground rules.

8. See this as an opportunity.

Things in life happen for all sorts of reasons. This transition could lead to so many new paths in your life – even some you might not have contemplated before now. It could make your friendship that much stronger. Or it could help you see a new job opportunity and take a chance and follow your dream career. So don’t see this change as a bad thing, see it as a blessing in disguise and look for the silver lining instead.

And there you have it. Eight practical tips that can help ease the transition, and make things a little smoother and more manageable, should one of your friends ever be promoted as your new boss.