5 tips all new leaders should know
So, you’ve recently found yourself promoted to the position of leader in your organization? Congratulations! This is a huge step in your journey as a leader, and it’s not something to be taken lightly.
As a leader myself, I’ve found there are 5 tips that can drastically help you transition into the role of leader.
Lead yourself exceptionally well
When you step into a leadership role, you become the one responsible for your team’s success. Therefore, modeling the right attitude and actions is vital to set up your success.
It starts with believing in what you are doing. One of my former bosses picked up trash many mornings before he went into work. He believed having a clean appearance was important, and he modeled those beliefs. He was not afraid to get his hands dirty. This is where leading by example sets the bar of expectation for the team to follow. He didn’t have to pick up litter all day, but his simple, short actions spoke volumes without saying a word.
In the words of John Maxwell, “If I can’t lead myself, others won’t follow me. If I can’t lead myself, others won’t respect me. If I can’t lead myself, others won’t partner with me.”
I like to partner with my leaders by having the mindset we are in this together. It is not “you work for me,” or “do what I say.” That’s the wrong attitude and belief, and that will only get people working while you’re standing there. Once you’re gone, so is the fear and motivation to work. In reality, it’s a team effort, and that effort starts and ends with you leading by example.
Be approachable and fair
Henry Ford once said, “Don’t find fault, find remedy.”
Remedy comes from looking for solutions. Better remedies come from people who are doing the work. As a leader I want to develop more people who can be problem solvers, not dependent on me. That takes skill to get them to engage, care and risk fixing the problem. That all starts with me being approachable.
This can be more challenging than it sounds because as a leader, we are used to being the problem solvers, giving directions and getting the credit. Being approachable means allowing others to participate and get credit for the solutions. I have blown it at times when I don’t slow down enough to listen to the comments of the team. I have also been fortunate to have listened and avoided problems.
Have a plan
According to Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Have a plan for what you want to happen today. It may change, but again it may not. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
To have a plan, we need to be aware of what the needs and goals are for the organization. I teach new leaders about quality by having an “eye for detail.”
For years I carried a notebook and wrote down every item I saw that needed to be worked on. Then, I trained my new leaders to carry a notebook and write down the things they saw that needed to be addressed. The good thing about a list was it got it out of my head and onto paper. I reviewed my list of items and made a new list of what we needed to do the next day. After the item was completed, I simply marked it off the list. New leaders lose credibility when they don’t have a plan, and their team gets frustrated.
Communicate early and often with your team
I cannot stress how important this is to leaders. Do not assume people on your team know what you know. For example, you may know you need to have everyone out of the room before a group comes in to use it. People get busy and they are focused on their task. So, make sure in your morning huddle with your team that you remind everyone of the important items. I find that asking my team members questions about the details helps them focus on what is needed. “What time do we have to be out of the room?” It is a soft approach to confirming the message was received.
It might sound a bit odd but hear me out. Actively taking the time to mentally think about your success as a leader can make all the difference.
When mentally preparing for your new leadership role, keep this practice in mind. Visualize your success by seeing the positive results you will produce because you are a person of action. You became a leader because of your skills, talents and attitude. Now, adjust and know you need to learn more about how to motivate, inspire and get people to go along with you now.
See yourself being approachable, communicating well to your team and handling tough challenges. I have seen leaders sabotage their own success because they told themselves everyone was against them, but in reality, it was all in their head. You find what you look for, so look for your success in the coming days. I am for you!