4 essential tips for new leaders
It's exhilarating to take your initial steps in any field, and this can be especially true for leadership. After all the effort you've put into developing your career, you've finally been promoted to a management position.
However, you may find yourself screeching to a halt at this change in direction. When you were developing your career, you were serving yourself; now, as a leader, you must help others. Many new leaders I've coached have struggled because they focused their leadership on themselves, their new position and their status.
Here's my advice for avoiding that mistake and ensuring that your initial days in leadership provide the groundwork for long-term success:
Maintain a healthy balance of confidence and humility
Many people underestimate how difficult it is to lead. While you have every right to be confident (you got to where you are for a reason), don't kid yourself. Leadership isn't meant to be easy, and a little humility goes a long way.
Develop your emotional intelligence
The capacity to understand and manage your emotions is called emotional intelligence. Any leader will hugely benefit from harnessing their emotional intelligence to guide their thoughts and actions. Emotions can run high in any workplace, particularly during times of transition. How you respond as a leader significantly impacts your team's performance.
Don't take advantage of your authority
Keep in mind that you're in your position to improve the lives of others, so avoid taking advantage of your authority and instead give everyone else a reason to show up and work hard every day. Instead of focusing on demonstrating your own abilities, show your interest in the success and growth of others.
Maintain your visibility and accessibility
Don't work on new processes and methods behind closed doors, and don't immediately throw out all the current procedures and systems. Walk about, meet people, and give them the opportunity to get to know you. Ask questions and pay attention to the answers. You'll learn new things and gain an understanding of your most valuable resource – your people. They will respect you as you have shown from the start that you value them.
TAKEAWAY: As a new leader, you'll soon have plenty of opportunities to build strategies, revise work plans, assign new responsibilities and establish fresh objectives. However, begin by listening to your people and serving their needs rather than receiving what you think you are owed due to your position. This will win your team's respect and increase your self-confidence.