I still vividly remember the time I got promoted to my first team leadership role. For me, I experienced a true cocktail of feelings mixed with excitement, pride, and accomplishment, as well as some fears, concerns, and overwhelm with new responsibilities and tasks. I also remember what helped me and what I dearly missed in the first few months in my new role. Here are some tips to set you up for a great start.
1. Find yourself a mentor and a coach
If your company already has a mentoring and/or coaching program in place, do not be shy to ask for one. Marshall Goldsmith put it perfectly by saying: “What got you here, won’t get you there.” It is essential to bounce off your ideas, challenges, and thoughts with someone that is neutral to your role and continue investing in your personal and professional development. The sooner you can make the shift from “it’s about me” to “it is about them”, the faster you will succeed in your new role.
Tip: Read Marshall Goldsmith’s bestseller: What got you here, won’t get your there
2. Build your leadership toolbox and skills
There are numerous tools and skills that you will need to make better decisions, prioritize your tasks well, manage your time, increase productivity, resolve conflicts, communicate effectively, and build and lead your team successfully. Start building your toolbox, ask your peers for their best practices and try out various tools as a way of experimenting to see what works best for you.
3. Lead self before leading others
Understanding how you tick, what drives, motivates, stresses, interests, and stimulates you is the key to leading yourself. Gaining awareness of yourself will also help you identify the different personalities of others and put you in a position to lead effectively. Investment in yourself is the best investment you can make in your career.
Tip: Get to know your personality traits at work with WorkPlaceBigFive Profile
4. Embrace feedback
Receiving regular feedback from your boss, peers, subordinates, and even friends and family will help you discover your strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots. Ask for feedback before you give it. If your subordinates don’t give you any feedback the first time, remain persistent, eventually, they will. Once you do receive it, listen to it to understand it, not to respond to it.
Tip: Radical Candor from Kim Scott
5. Set SMART goals as a leader
SMART goals set you up for success by making goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. The SMART method supports pushing you further, gives you a sense of direction, and helps you organize and reach your goals. Share your goals with others to increase your accountability.
Tip: Read more about SMART goals
6. Drive change with quick wins
Being a leader doesn’t automatically permit you to change everything you do not like. Involve key people and your team in the change process as early as possible and be ready for the initial resistance. Resistance is a sign you are working in a healthy environment. Embrace that and allow people to vent & express their concerns – about 90 seconds will do the trick – and engage them in the process from the start.
7. As a leader know your stakeholders and create value for all
Regardless of your role and function, you will deal with various stakeholders of which you will need to manage very closely. Use stakeholder mapping to identify key people that have an important role in your wider system. Your boss will directly see your performance, but the boss of your boss might be the one making decisions of your projects or your further career path.
Tip: Make a Stakeholder Analysis
8. Slow down to go faster
Just like the Formula One driver needs to step on the break before entering the S curve, the same applies to work. We need to slow down to go faster. Give yourself the permission to slow down by intentionally devoting some time every week for self-reflection, reading, practicing self-care and assessing your strategic direction. Yes, this is also work. In fact, very hard one!
Tip: Reserve “slowing-down” time in your calendar right now.
9. Last but not least – Be YOU
At times it might feel you are walking in shoes that are a couple of sizes too big for you to fit in. This is normal. Remaining true to yourself, your values and leading from inside out, will set you for success. Allow for your team to get to know your true you and connect with each team member individually in the first days in your new role. Getting to know your people, understanding their ambitions, passions, and interests over a cup of coffee is a win for all.
And for the most part, enjoy your rich learning journey. When you still feel overwhelmed, ask yourself how you will see this situation 5 years from now. The extent of your current challenge will go from an elephant-size to a fly-size. You got this.
Best of luck!
If you want to learn more about Lea:
Go to: www.weyermann-coaching.com
This Fall, Lea will be running an 8-week, online “Confident Leader” leadership program specifically designed for young and ambitious leaders that are new to their leadership role. For more information go to https://www.weyermann-coaching.com/leadershipdevelopment or reach out to Lea directly at [email protected] coaching.com