One sentence that hits home with a lot of my clients is the quote “What got you here won’t get you there”. Too often my clients (and myself in the past), felt that if they continue with the behaviours which got them recognised or promoted, it will help them continue up the leadership ladder.
This way of thinking in fact holds people back. As we progress in the workplace, we can rely too much on comfortable habits and behaviours which can often hinder us in progressing our career.
One of the first obstacles is not managing your own behaviours following your promotion. Very often people find it difficult to identify the behaviours they need to let go of or change.
If you have taken on a new role, consider the following few simple steps.
Ensure that the transition is signalled to all your colleagues. Ensure your manager or HR department makes an announcement to identify your new role and highlight what the new roles entails. Work with them on this to ensure you are happy with the announcement. Even better, step out of your comfort zone, and write the announcement yourself and seek your manager input.
Outline your expectations for the team as soon as you can, but also seek their opinion on how they see the team forming and performing. Ask them how they would like to be supported and seek their input on what is working well. Ultimately, you will make the decisions on moving forward and do so with their buy-in.
Find your own Leadership Style, don't try to impersonate the leader who went before you. Further develop your own self-awareness by seeking feedback and looking at your blind spots. Be your Authentic Self – identify your values and align your values and beliefs with your ways of working. Understand the difference between Leadership and Management.
“Managers do things right, Leaders do the right thing”. Warren G. Bennis
4. Delegate tasks (you are not dumping them on your team). Wanting to do the job yourself as it will get done quicker, or better or the way “you like it” is not productive or sustainable. I often hear my clients say, well “I don't want the team to think I am above doing that job anymore”. Well, actually you are. Effective delegation is a necessity in your leadership toolkit. There is a process to delegating tasks and you should follow it. If you don't delegate then how will you free up time to take on and develop new leadership skills, to grow and develop your team?
5. Seek out a Mentor / Coach. Every good leader needs support. A mentor is someone to bounce ideas off or, as someone more experienced, to confirm your thoughts and ideas. A mentor will also help you build your network, increase your confidence and challenge your thinking. A coach, on the other hand, will help you think more deeply about your goals, have some great questions for the answers you seek and will listen and support you in a way you may not have experienced before.
In saying all of this, don't discard the behaviours that got you here. Evaluate which ones serve you best, discard those which don’t and develop new ones to keep you moving up the leadership ladder.