Being a new leader in an existing team can be very challenging. Regardless of whether you are assigned to lead a project, or manage a group of people for the long haul, stepping into a new leadership position can cause a lot of upheavals. But on the other hand, landing a top role can also bring new thinking and innovative perspective to a business needing a reboot or being disrupted by changing demand of the market.
If you are going to step in as a new leader, you need to make sure that you are ready to deal with it the right way from the beginning. Here are four highly effective methods to use in order to overcome the growing pains of new leadership.
1. Gather Information
While your new employer likely offers a new hire orientation program, it is often thin and inadequate, especially to get up to speed in a leadership role. Start looking for resources from which you can start teaching yourself:
The organization’s big picture: its vision, mission, values, and culture.
The role of team in the organization.
The tasks of your new team.
Broad performance standards and workplace expectations.
Company systems, practices, procedures.
Assess the organisation, learn about them, understand what kind of situation you’re stepping into – why is the previous person leaving, are you going to be taking a chaotic situation into your hands, or will things be smooth?
You should be ready long before your start date. Having an action plan early on will give an enormous advantage in the long-run.
2. Prepare for the Change in the Dynamics with Colleagues
Transitioning from a non-leadership role to a top-role can bring a lot of changes, especially on the relationship you have with your colleagues. While responsibilities and daily work will be different, but your affiliation with your co-workers — especially those on your immediate team — will no longer be defined as “peers.”
Changing from co-worker to leader doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends with one another, and it certainly doesn’t mean you should abuse your authority. However, just remember that there may be a period of adjustment to earn the respect of your team as an authority figure rather than an equal-level employee.
3. Meet Your Team
It’s hard for people to trust, let alone follow, someone that they don’t know. That means it’s important for you to meet your team! Whether you’re stepping into a company of five or five thousand, make the effort to get in front of the people who work for you. It’s important. Meet them. Talk to them. Shake hands. Let them know that you’re listening and that you care. This process can take time, but doing so will also impart valuable trust that you just can’t earn through a simple newsletter.
4. Learn the Difference Between Leading and Managing
Though leadership and management both involve overseeing a team of workers, there is a distinct difference between the two, and first-time leaders may not always realise it. They may feel that, if they are accomplishing their goals and hitting their budgets, they are successfully leading. But leaders need to inspire their team, share purpose and provide direction, not just manage the budget.
Make sure you have a clear vision that is aligned with the company’s mission and purpose. Catch your team doing things that contribute to accomplishing your vision, and visibly recognise them for it because what gets recognized gets repeated by others.
A crisis of leadership is the first phase to the professionalisation of the business. Being an experienced manager isn’t always easy and can often take time. But if you get it right, you could help the business navigate through the uncertain times of rapid growth, and emerge with a professional and competent team that can take the business to the whole new level of success.
Healthy Business Builder has helped many clients overcome leadership crisis over the years through our effective Business and Executive Coaching. Get in touch to find out how our services could help your business.