Ask For Advice

Send your questions and concerns to Dr. Marie McIntyre. Marie has more than 20 years experience in coaching, human resources, and management.  She writes the syndicated column “Your Office Coach”, which appears in more than 70 newspapers nationwide. Marie has authored two books and serves as a workplace expert for the National Institute of Business Management.  (Due to high volume, not all questions can be answered, but Marie will respond to as many as possible. Your question may be reprinted online or in the newspaper column unless you request otherwise.)

Coaching Q&A

It’s hard to manage my former co-workers.

I was recently promoted to manage a group of employees who used to be my coworkers. However, I’m finding it difficult to supervise people who were my peers for several years. As their manager, I feel that I should be demonstrating stronger leadership skills, but I’m not sure how to go about this. How can I become more effective in this position?

Marie’s Answer

Like most new supervisors, you’re suffering from “imposter syndrome”. Although you’ve been given a management title, you are not yet comfortable in the role, so management tasks can seem unfamiliar and awkward. Supervising former peers usually makes this transition even more unsettling.

To successfully adapt, you must initially engage in some on-the-job role-playing. This simply means that you need to act like a manager even though you don’t quite feel like one yet.

Begin by meeting individually with team members to discuss their jobs and agree on expectations. Express appreciation for their contributions and encourage them to come to you with any problems they may have. Speak with confidence during these conversations, even if you’re still feeling slightly shaky.

To be most effective, you will need to recognize how your leadership style is shaped by your natural personality. Management is a complex job, and every manager has a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses. While some of your natural behaviors and traits will work well, others may require some modification.

Seek out leadership tips from books, videos, podcasts, or seminars – but only take advice from people who have actually worked in management. Unfortunately, many self-proclaimed “experts” have never actually managed anyone.

Finally, be on the lookout for helpful role models whom you view as effective leaders. Seasoned managers possess a wealth of practical knowledge which they are often quite happy to share.

NOTE: Questions on this page have been edited for length, grammar, and confidentiality.  All material on this website is copyrighted to Marie G. McIntyre.  All rights reserved.

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    Marie G. McIntyre, Ph.D.

    Marie McIntyre has more than twenty years’ experience in career coaching and organizational development. She has held management positions in both business and government, including Director of Human Resources in a Fortune 500 company.

    Marie writes the weekly syndicated advice column, “Your Office Coach”, which appears in newspapers throughout the U.S. & Canada.  She also writes a monthly Career Commentary for and serves as a workplace expert for Business Management Daily.  Marie conducts webinars on a variety of topics related to leadership development and career success.

    As a consultant, Marie has assisted a wide variety of organizations, including Cisco, The Home Depot, Tyson Foods, the Federal Reserve, AT&T, Walgreens, Macy’s, and Habitat for Humanity. She has experience in working with business, government, and non-profit groups.

    Marie is the author of two books, “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics” &“The Management Team Handbook”.  She is frequently quoted in business publications, including Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.