“You can’t start the next chapter of your career if you keep re-reading the last one”
When an employee makes the move from employee to leader there are some fundamental changes in mindset that most people haven’t considered before they take that leap.
So here’s some tips to make sure you balance the energies in your new leadership head-space to ensure success, harmony and good fortune.
1. Start thinking about your personal brand
People perceive you in different ways so if you haven’t already, you need to consider your brand and how you want to be known in your business. Do you want to be knows as the innovator, the leader who gets things done, the yeller or screamer, Mr Unapproachable or do you really want to be known as ‘the nice guy’. So figure out what it is you want people to think of you and live it.
2. Do less of the doing
As a leader you become less involved in the execution but more involved in the strategic elements. It doesn’t mean you work less but its definitely different to what you’ll be used to and sometimes its hard to let go of what you’ve always done.
3. Lean from your mistakes
The quicker you make mistakes the quicker the path to success. You will make them, everyone does. The biggest thing is to make sure you learn from your mistake and don’t make it twice.
4. You can be friendly but you can’t be a bestie
It’s tough to find the right balance, especially if you’ve been promoted from employee to leader. But being too friendly makes it harder to have honest, and sometimes tough conversations. Being too friendly can also impact how others perceive and respect you. Imagine if you had to fire your bestie.
5. Are you with the company or are you still one of the herd
At some point you’ll need to make a decision, do you really want to be a leader – Now this isn’t in a them and us kind of thing but as a leader it’s your responsibility make things happen, buy-in to and champion the businesses strategic direction even if decisions you need to champion are unpopular. So even in the face of adversity there are times where you’ll have to learn to suck it up, show a positive face and support your senior leaders.
6. Speak your truth
Often leaders are afraid of speaking the truth, and can fail to hold others accountable. Their afraid of rocking the boat, confrontation, making a scene and probably a bunch of other things. So get comfortable with it quickly.
7. Manage up
Learn to anticipate what your boss needs and be proactive is asking for what you need. Be aware of your bosses style and preferences so you can adapt. Most of all be that leader who comes with solutions not problems.
8. Be positive and create an atmosphere full of Chi
Try to make your employees think things are better than they seem, even if the pressure is on. If its already a tough time make it easier for them.
9. Those days of leaving dead on the dot are over
Personally I believe in work life balance and am not a fan of clock watching except for being on time to start the day. Every job has times when you need to put in that extra time. As a leader it’s your responsibility to lead by example. Don’t be known as the leader who leaves dead on time most of the time.
10. Start thinking Macro
You’ve been a doer for years but now you’re the leader. So you need to start thinking big picture, organization wide and strategic. Your responsibility is much wider than your tiny old little universe .
What other challenges have you faced when taking that step? Perhaps you have someone coming through the ranks with their own challenges.