Few things in life are more exciting than finally getting the promotion that you’ve always dreamed of attaining. However, it can be pretty terrifying, too—especially if you’ve been placed in a leadership role. Indeed, the idea of suddenly being responsible for others while also making sure that you stay on top of your own responsibilities can seem utterly daunting at first.
That said, feeling discomfort is completely normal. And while it may never go away completely, you don’t have to let it overwhelm you. So, take a moment, let it all sink in, and then get ready to get to work. Here are the four things you first need to do after you’ve been promoted to a leadership role, from improving your skills and knowledge with a leadership development coach to building positive relationships with your team:
Start Adopting a Learning Mindset
The saying “knowledge is power” is an enduring one for a reason. With knowledge on your side, there isn’t much that you wouldn’t be able to conquer. Your first order of business as a new leader should be to adopt a very specific mindset: being open to more learning. It’s vitally important that you start to learn everything you can about your new role.
It’s also a good idea to proactively seek information about the tools, resources, and courses offered by your organisation. Some businesses offer formal training and continuing education for employees in managerial positions or leadership roles. If your company offers them, take advantage of those learning opportunities. If it doesn’t, you might want to look for a qualified leadership development coach who can give you personalised guidance throughout this transitional period.
Additionally, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with whatever manuals your company uses, as well as its HR policies. Finally, it’s worth putting in some time to do a bit of research on the people that you’ll be managing. You’ll want to pull up their personnel files, resumes, past performance reviews, and any coaching or training records they may have.
Find Yourself a Mentor
When you get promoted to a leadership role, you’ll more than likely find yourself in a lot of situations that haven’t been covered in any book or manual. For example, you may not be able to promote a well-performing team member if your organisation has recently cut budgets or imposed austerity measures. Dealing with an underperforming employee may also fall under your responsibility, but you may be at a loss on how to proceed.
Fortunately, these situations are also common enough that other managers and leaders have experienced them before. As such, finding mentors can be priceless. These are people that you can turn to in these difficult situations and they potentially could even offer you more valuable advice throughout your career.
To find them, start attending functions and events where you can meet like-minded people in your industry. Look up prominent figures online and get in touch with them through social media. You might be surprised at how much you can learn just from being around someone.
Shift Your Focus
Before becoming a leader, your primary responsibility was to accomplish tasks. Like a lot of other people who have been promoted to managerial positions, you might be under the impression that being good at your job only entails continuing as you had before.
However, as a leader, your job is now about helping others improve the way that they accomplish tasks. Your performance is inextricably connected to that of your team’s. First-time managers and those who are new to carrying the mantle of a leader often find it difficult to shift their focus from one that is self-centred to one that is more team-aware. You’ll have to be more mindful about not just the way you do your own work, but also how your team does theirs.
Learn How to Listen
One of the biggest mistakes that a new leader can make is to attempt to change too much, too soon, in a bid to assert dominance over the people they’ll be working with. And while you may think about jumping the gun and showing people that you aren’t someone to be taken lightly, don’t give in to the temptation to do so. You could very well shoot yourself in the foot and only cause problems before you’ve even settled into your new role.
Instead, make an effort to listen to your colleagues attentively and understand what they’re all about. Fostering an environment of open communication can go a long way towards building positive and productive relationships, which, in turn, can motivate people to perform better.
Being a leader is a continuous learning experience. There will always be more to discover, and it may never become as easy as you had hoped it would be. However, you can overcome most of the challenges that the role presents by being open to communication, soaking up as much knowledge as you can, and staying humble.
Let Carrie Benedet help you with your new role as a leader, get in touch with her today!