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3 steps to succeeding as a new leader

Jan 02, 2023
By: Tom Cox

So, you’re ready for leadership. You’re one of the top individual performers in your organization. You’ve been selected as an emerging leader and your stock is on the rise. With all those great things they told you about your potential and aptitude, you don’t have to change a thing, right? Wrong.

One of the most common reasons that new leaders struggle is because they didn’t change when they entered their new role. All those attributes that made you a great individual performer — competitiveness, love of the spotlight and thinking you had all the answers — may actually undercut the trust and cohesion of the team you lead.

But don’t worry, if you were a successful independent contributor, you can absolutely succeed as a leader. You just might want to be more open to changing the way you think about your role and adjusting your work values, skills and time application appropriately. In the words of Marshall Goldsmith, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

These three key steps can help you thrive as a new leader:

  1. Adjust your work values around what is important now

    The first and most important step is to adjust your work values, because what we value is what we do. Particularly in that first transition from individual contributor to leader of others, group and team success needs to supersede personal recognition and achievement.

  2. Coach and grow direct reports

    Organizations are dynamic, living organisms that need to develop and grow to meet the demands and needs of their environments. As a leader, consider not only immediate success, but success into the future. The ability to develop and grow teams that perform effectively is the first real indication of a leader’s success. Grow direct reports by coaching them every day.

  3. Own your new leadership role

    Finally, just being assigned the role of leader is not enough. Leadership is active participation in developing others and living the values of the organization. “Because I said so” is not a long-term effective leadership strategy. Demonstrate you own your role in the organization by striving to become better at doing the things that are important at your new level and new role.

Transform your leaders

In today’s competitive landscape, leadership on every level is paramount. Are your leaders equipped to navigate the complexities you face? Are your leaders and business strategies in lockstep?

With Wipfli’s Leadership Essentials, they will be. Our program is meticulously crafted to transform supervisors from capable to exceptional. Our team connects leadership training to measurable outcomes, using validated assessments, action plans and reinforcement techniques. Learn more about Leadership Essentials.

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Tom Cox
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