You came, you saw, and you conquered. It’s the feeling many leaders experience upon promotion, at least until they discover the plethora of lessons they now get to learn in order to remain effective. Enter the lessons most leaders learned the hard way. These are the same learning moments those leaders less interested in experience than wisdom, will learn from…and do differently, as a result. Let’s take a look!
No One Cares
It may be sad, but true. No one cares that your job is now more difficult with less time to get more results. No one cares about your struggle to juggle and are as focused on their own issues as they were on understanding your new position. Eliminate the expectation that they do and much less frustration will be a part of your daily to-dos.
Time Really Does Fly
What feels like plenty of time will now be eaten alive by the needs of hungry team members. The words “gotta sec?” will consume more time than the question implies, and no amount of time management will restore time not spent well focused on the top priority item that needs your utmost attention at this moment.
Results are Better Together
Because your time is now not about you alone, leaders who stay focused on their individual performance are slow to transition into their role. Enlist and enroll others as quickly as possible. Rising tides really do raise all boats and you really can’t raise that tide all by your lonesome.
Teamwork Takes Longer
And here’s the rub. Time is less in management but corralling the efforts of many takes longer to produce results you think you could once perform yourself. Upon promotion, your responsibilities changed. Cease to compare the time it took to do it yourself with the time it takes to influence and lead the achievement of others.
People Really Are Different
We know this and we see this in marrying our opposite and trying to communicate with children who clearly see the world through different spectacles. At work we call those differences difficult. At home, we call them “honey”. Learn to lead different behaviors differently and you’ll find less conflict and drama in your office (and maybe in your marriage!).
Your Habits Are Powerful
You laugh when they say it’s the way they’ve always done it while you continue to drive the same route, get stuck in the same spot, and lead in the same manner that keeps causing you to talk with HR. Your habits are more powerful than your desires. Learn to marshal them, develop new ones, and patiently help others to learn similar skills.
Soft Does Not Mean Fluffy
Inexperienced leaders like to insist soft skills and the use of emotional intelligence tools are too fluffy to make a serious difference. Workplaces employ people. People are different. Develop their ability to communicate and understand where you’re coming from and your results will be not only firm and lacking in fluffy, but phenomenal.
They Need to Hear from You More
Also a good practice is to communicate far more often. Leaders learn the hard way that no news is good news does not always hold true and that those who need to hear from you, in the absence of your regular communication, will find a new boss who talks more, shares more, and keeps them informed.
Specificity Breeds Action
This means not only that saying stuff matters, but what you say is equally important. Go do it is not a direction, but a directive and it lacks clear details. More than half of the team you lead will need you to get into the weeds to truly understand what you mean when you tell them to go and do just about anything.
Learning Happens More Than Once
Leaders who believe their learning ceased to happen upon promotion not only lack ambition, but awareness that learning is a life long process. Not only good for the brain and good for one’s career, learning is a need for continued leadership, unless of course, nothing in your world ever changes.
Nothing is Ever Set in Stone
In even the most stable of teams in which you think no one will ever leave and in even in the most tenured and financially solid of organizations, things change. Nothing is ever permanent. Not people, not processes, not outcomes, not customers. Get comfortable with change and leading in a fluid, forward motion.
Leadership comes from experience as an individual performer and continues with experience in leading others. Part personality, part learned behaviors, part desire, part skills, and in large part practice, leaders learn daily and those who wish to make faster progress learn wisdom from the experience of others, who may have learned the hard way in areas just like these eleven lessons.
Monica Wofford, CSP is a leadership development specialist and professional speaker. Her coaching, books, and skill based training programs are requested internationally. Monica is the CEO of www.ContagiousCompanies.com and a candidate for the Florida House of Representatives. She may be reached at 1-866-382-0121. To learn more about the CORE Profile® or to complete the abbreviated, free, CORE Snapshot™, follow this link.