Promotion from peer to leader is a common thing, yet can be a problem for some. It's often a feeling of apprehension about what now-former peers may think, what's "supposed to be different" now that you're in charge, etc. So here are six considerations in making this transition smoothly:
1. Determine Your Point B “Must-haves:” Carve out a period of time to assess the situation from your new perspective, even if you think you know it. Before making significant changes, use this time to educate yourself on your new role. Ask basic questions and listen hard to understand: a) from your leader or boss: how would s/he measure your success and failure a year from now? b) What are his or her specific expectations? c) What are the problems, needs and capabilities of the key people in your organization? d) What’s needed in your group that's not true today? Take it all in and only THEN identify your own “Point B” must-haves one year hence, and the key changes that must be made to get there. As you go through this inquiry process, tell people that you’re having a “break in period” of X amount of time so you set THEIR expectations and telegraph the care you're taking in your new role.
2. Exercise Humility: Certainly resist any temptation to take on an authoritarian or heavy-handed approach to prove yourself or differentiate yourself from your now-former peers. Many try that approach at first, and it puts people off, creating some degree of enduring counter productivity.
3. Build Relationships Anew: If you socialized with your peers before the promotion, I wouldn’t suggest you stop doing that. There’s no rule that says a leader shouldn’t socialize with people in their organization, while there IS evidence that a strong, relational style sets a good stage for productivity, teamwork, and results. Yet your relationships to those former-peers HAVE changed, and that change requires effort on both your parts. Best way to do that is to remain in conversation with them, exercising care about what you can and can't disclose given you're privy to more sensitive information.
4. Be Wary of Ruffled Feathers: Accept that there may be ruffled feathers among your team (e.g., Why HIM / Her and not me?) and that’s normal. In many cases it will wear off as they get to know and see you in your new role, or they will move on.
5. Address Issues Candidly and Kindly: If something or someone in your group isn’t working well, don’t shy away from addressing it, but watch any tendency to be heavy-handed with it. If it’s an individual, then be careful to address it privately, candidly, and kindly.
6. Track Lessons-Learned: Learn from your mistakes—the leaders I've worked with who have done best at this are not free of mistakes or issues in the transition, but they are GREAT at saying, “Ok, that didn’t work,” and doing something different the next time.
As you can see, there’s no magic here, just time to build understanding and a target state, operate with humility, maintain relationships, be wary of ruffled feathers, treat people with respect, and most importantly, learn from what doesn’t work.