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5 Hard-Won Lessons of Newly Promoted Leaders
Newly promoted leaders must overcome many challenges before their reports accept and reward them with trust and respect. Such challenges range from understanding the nature of leadership to empowering teams and prioritizing efforts.
Newly promoted leaders face a plethora of challenges that will almost certainly seem overwhelming at one point or another. As a new leader, you will have a lot on your plate. From dealing with awkwardness to questions about your competence, you will have to learn some lessons to acquit yourself well in your new position.
As a new leader, you have challenges to face and lessons to learn.
It is up to you whether you learn your lessons the hard way, or the easier way, by giving yourself a head start.
What are the most common challenges newly promoted leaders face? How can you deal with these tests optimally? Here are several lessons that can help.
1. Understanding that Leadership is a Journey, Not a Destination
In my leadership development books and blog posts, I have always treated the concept of intelligent leadership as an ongoing personal journey for all those who lead people.
The intelligent leader understands that at no point in this journey is there a well-defined arrival. It is a story of personal and organizational growth, alignment, and empowerment that leaders write as they go, and the reins of which they hand over to their successors upon their retirement.
The concepts of leadership coaching and executive coaching fit this narrative perfectly. Intelligent leaders know that they have to continuously develop and refine their skills and competencies. And leadership coaching can help them make proper headway.
2. Prioritizing Focus
Creativity and empowerment are two essential sources of success. As a new leader, you may approach leadership in a reactive mode, allowing competition to shape your attitude and stifle your creativity.
Keep your priorities clear and do not allow external factors such as competition to force you into contrasting and comparing.
3. Earning the Respect of Your Reports and Peers
In the context of your new position, you need the respect of your reports and peers more than ever before. Respect under these circumstances is not a question of prestige. It is a matter of survival and success.
Make it your top priority to earn the trust of your team.
Reports who don’t respect you will never put in the discretionary effort to help you succeed. Without respect, you will quickly find that you can’t achieve much as a leader. So how do you go about earning this respect?
- When you land in the new position, demonstrate a willingness to learn. Don’t act like you know everything. Let your reports know that you are ready and willing to learn from them.
- Make your motives clear. Mystery may be an asset in romance, but it is a liability in business as it breeds distrust. If your intentions are unclear, your reports will grow suspicious and resentful.
- Don’t just be open to feedback. Seek it out. Be proactive about getting and providing feedback. Good communication is one of the cornerstones of trust.
- Empower your reports. Tell them what to do, but don’t micromanage them.
- Feel free to praise your team members in public. Only deliver criticism in private. Criticism makes most people feel exposed and vulnerable. Sparing them public humiliation is the only logical way of handling this facet of leadership.
4. Valuing Customer Feedback
Customers are the raison d’etre of your organization. They power the business and give it direction. Businesses that don’t listen to their customers are doomed to fail. Listening to customer feedback, therefore, is not just common sense. You don’t have to be a business coaching expert to recognize that it’s a necessity.
5. Empowering Your Team
Like executive coaching, leadership is about asking questions and letting people come up with their answers. As a leader, it can be tempting to dominate the conversation with your ideas and solutions. Your reports do not want you to lead them into the future. They want to create that future with your guidance.
Don’t be overly hard on yourself. You might be a leader, but you are human. No one can expect you to know everything and handle everything perfectly all the time. As long as you are willing to learn your lessons and improve, you should be fine.
Don’t hesitate to turn to executive/leadership coaching if you need help. An executive coach can help you improve as a leader while allowing you to find your solutions and answers.
Check out my books for more about how leadership coaching can help budding and established leaders.