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Which of the following situations is the most awkward?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Which of the following situations is the most awkward?

  • Becoming the boss after being a peer with my team members: 24.98%
  • A peer becoming my boss: 24.09%
  • An outsider being hired as my boss: 9.28%
  • Getting “layered” (a new boss is inserted between me and my old boss): 41.66%

Awkward! Any time we go from peer to boss (or a colleague becomes the boss), it can be awkward. If you follow a few simple steps, such as acknowledging the awkwardness and doing all you can to support your colleague, the transition can be much smoother. In cases in which you get “layered,” understand your new boss feels awkward, too, but there are steps you can take to make things smoother. The sooner you get over the fact that you don’t report to the big boss anymore and let your new boss know he has your full support, the faster you can get to work and have the positive impact you’re being paid for (plus, these are the behaviors expected of our leaders).

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”