Stepping Up Into Your Leadership Shoes!

In my coaching practice, I frequently speak to leaders about “stepping up into their leadership shoes” and how important it is to do so. For recently promoted leaders who have a new mandate and have recently taken on greater responsibility, it’s critical.

Many successfully leaders naturally think that the behaviors and techniques that have made them successful to date are all they need to succeed in their new role. In fact, they are right to some degree, in that their current leadership style and leadership best practices have made them successful and these may be a big part of why they received the promotion in the first place.

The thing to keep in mind is that what works well at a certain level may not always work as effectively at a different level.  Leaders may require additional tools to help them navigate their new role and responsibilities.

For example, a leader who is known for being extremely accessible and having their pulse on the business may find that by sticking to their old routine, they are not fully stepping up to handle the more visionary or strategic requirements of their new role because being readily accessible takes up too much time.

Another way this might manifest, is that employees who are used to coming directly may now report to another leader. If the direct access continues in the same vein, the newly promoted leader may unintentionally get in the other leader’s way and make that leader ineffective, simply by being too available.

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A further example is that it is common for leaders to keep the same communication practices in place when their new position calls for broader and more formalized communications. Leaders may not realize that they need to position themselves differently to reflect the position and scope they now have to meet the expectations of all their stakeholders. Instead of in person, one on one communication, the leader may need to add standardized communication channels such as weekly, monthly or quarterly communications using various communication vehicles.

One final note to ponder – leaders may not realize that in more senior roles, they will need to collaborate and wield influence over a wider group of stakeholders. It may take some time to identify, prioritize and strategize their best course of interaction with these groups. If a leader assumes they can manage with their former network solely, they may experience a delivery failure on key objectives because they just don’t have the connections they need to succeed.

It’s not easy navigating new roles at more senior levels but if you take the time to think through what behaviors and leadership practices still serve you and start to identify what else you might need to add into your leadership toolkit, you will begin the exciting journey of stepping into your new leadership shoes. Go ahead, try them on for size, and, over time, you will get more comfortable in them and build successful new skills and disciplines to support your new position! To get some support during your transition, contact sandi@soundleadership.ca

Click here for more of my thoughts on leadership.

Sandra Hokansson

Sandra Hokansson
Sandi Hokansson is a certified executive-level coach and principal of Sound Leadership. Reach her at sandi (at) soundleadership (dot) ca.

Sandra Hokansson

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