When someone takes on a new leadership role, the reaction could either be:
- Enthusiasm to take an opportunity for growth
- Self-doubt to take the new responsibilities
New team leaders are in a challenging situation because they feel the need to perform to impress their new boss and at the same time, get the support from the team members. And if you’re new, it’s sometimes hard to balance the two.
Other challenges may arise which includes:
- Earning the trust of the team members who may be skeptical about your abilities
- Being the “outsider” because you have to work with new people
- Looking out for other people’s performance because their success is your success
What can you do to overcome these challenges?
- Know your team. The first few days and weeks in your new role with your new team is crucial. It sets the tone of the kind of relationship you will have with your team members. Every team is unique so take time to get to know them. Have conversations and find out what they like, their interests, etc… Get to know them on a deeper level and try to understand why they do what they do in the workplace. It’s so easy to identify who’s meeting the targets and who aren’t. It’s faster to just look at the numbers and set goals for the team. However, it’s way smarter and effective to understand them. Find out how you can help them succeed. Do they lack the skills? What’s the underlying reason why they’re not performing?
2. Communicate all the time. Set clear expectations right from the get go. Share your vision with the team and ensure you’re all headed in the same direction. Identify their individual targets and help them understand how it’s aligned with the team’s overall goal. Build trust by clearly communicating what’s expected of them and how it helps them achieve their targets.
3. Make the team work. A team is a group of people who shares the same goal and works together to achieve the same objectives. Identify who your key players are by leveraging their individual strengths. Doing this will allow them to help each other in different areas. Assign everybody with a role to help the team. People want to be acknowledged and one way to do that is by letting them know that their work matters. This will help you make them feel valued and consequently, gain their trust.
Taking on a new leadership role is not an easy feat.
Acknowledge that while you may have excelled at your previous role, you still have lots to learn on your new role.
Be prepared to learn from your managers and from your new team.
Seek guidance from mentors and colleagues to enhance your leadership capabilities.
Never stop learning because there’s always room for improvement.
And lastly, believe in yourself. You’ve got the potential to succeed in your new leadership role or you wouldn’t have been hired for the role.
If you’re in a new leadership position or if you have direct reports or colleagues who are new in the leadership role and you feel like you’re missing something, take a management or leadership training to build your leadership skills.