The struggles of first-time leaders are both real and widespread. New leaders are thrown i6to the deep end to sink or swim. They either figure out how to become a successful leader or fail and retreat disillusioned back to individual contributors and unlikely to step up to a leadership role again.
How often do you see high-performing individuals promoted into leadership roles? The skills that enabled an individual to perform at a high level are rarely the same ones that will support them as an influential leader. When people choose to step into a leadership role, they are more likely to bring the right attitude and behaviors that breed success.
Stepping into a leadership role is one of the most courageous decisions in one’s career. In today’s digital world, a new kind of leader is required. A leader that consistently leads others by supporting people and the organization to grow intentionally through pursuing goals that stretch their skills, collaborating and fostering interdependence, opening doors of opportunity for others, and a commitment and passion for becoming better leaders.
In an episode of Masters Of Scale podcast, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman shared, every leader has to create a drumbeat for their company. The leader supports their people to define how they follow and act in the day-to-day business.
No one is immune to facing new challenges. New leaders must understand the problems, identify what needs to be done now, and how they can impact the organization. Here are 12 ways first-time leaders can take themselves to the next level.
1. The transition should not be underestimated
Many organizations do not provide the support required to enable leaders to transition into a first-time leadership position successfully. Globoforce reported that 47 percent of managers don’t receive any training when they take a new leadership role. Development and eLearning programs must be in place months before the transition to build leadership skills while being coached regularly.
In a recent interview with Microsoft Joe Whittinghill, Corporate VP discussed how Microsoft has rolled out a new management framework to its leaders centered around a growth mindset called Model Coach Care. Their structure invests in leaders having to coach their employees to be active role models and demonstrate how they care about their employees and their personal growth.
2. Great conversations drive bottom-line impact
Interacting effectively with others creates environments where both leaders and teams are engaged and inspired. The quality of interactions affects how people feel about themselves, their leader, and being part of the team.
Harvard Business Review published recent research supporting that leaders who listen well are perceived as people leaders, generate more trust, instill higher job satisfaction, and increase their team’s creativity. Leaders stepping into these roles must ask themselves – am l a good listener? Because if you are going to lead, you must be.
A new study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin showed that organizations either have a growth or fixed mindset. Carol Dweck, who was part of the research team, confirmed that whichever the leader chooses to practice will flow to the employees, how they see the company and act within.
3. Leadership is a never-ending journey
As Malcolm Gladwell outlined in his book Outliers, it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. Organizations can support the development of leadership skills by focusing on building leadership development journeys that span multiple years. Like all professionals, leadership requires continued opportunities for practice, skill-building, and real-world experiences.
The organization must provide the tools and culture to make this happen. By proactively seeking out experiences to apply skills and building a habit of collecting feedback on progress, they position themselves as a self-driven leader and embody self-reflection on how they can improve.
4. There is no endpoint
No leader ever reaches the finishing point. Even when leaders become an authority or thought leader in their industry, the environment in which they operate would more than likely continue to change. Leaders must create a new set of expectations and develop new skills to continue to have a presence and impact. AT&T continuously train their employees to ensure they have the skills the company needs to succeed in an ever-changing world.