At Citadel, we reward great results with increased opportunities. Much of our leadership team has risen through the firm over the years. The piece below shares helpful tips on how to succeed as a new leader.
Congratulations on earning your place as the new leader of your team or a new organization. It’s the moment you’ve work so hard for and finally have made it here. You’re a new leader whose past experience, attitude, skills and reputation has landed you in a position of much authority and responsibility. There’s a good chance you’ll succeed in your new role, however, it’s not guaranteed.
Everything you’ve done so far in your career has led you to this position, however, everything you’ve done so far isn’t what you need to continue doing to succeed. In fact, you’ll need a new set of skills to continue being successful. You need to adapt those traits and develop skills that make leaders winners.
But before you start aimlessly polishing up on your leadership skills, there are several things to consider if you want your leadership to be impactful. It’s not just you who can make it a success – it’s an entire team, the mindset, a culture, and the organization itself, all working in harmony and aligned towards a common higher purpose.
Being a new leader is not only challenging, it’s downright intimidating. If you’re not having sleepless nights thinking about the things you should and shouldn’t be doing then you’re not serious about succeeding enough. However, you can sleep easier if you’re able to adopt these habits that help you, as a new leader, go beyond success – you could just very well be legendary!
1. Avoid Power Trips
Once you’ve earned your place as a leader – a position of authority – it’s fairly easy to let the power get to you. And why not! A lot of leaders in the past started off with great intentions and plans. They were going to do good and revolutionize their organizations. Instead, they let the power and status get the better of them. Rather than letting your ego get the best of you and hold on to your position, work on being able to adapt, transform with time and let go when the time is right. By doing this you’ll also stay clear of the old trap where you aren’t able to adapt to present times and are still lingering on to the past.
2. Trust Your New Team
When you become a new leader you’ll inherit a team that isn’t necessarily handpicked by you. In a few weeks of working with them, you’ll realize that unlike the previous team you had they may not necessarily be as synced with you or at par with your expectations of them. This leads to many leaders bringing in their trusted team from their previous organization. Sure, they’re tried and tested and you have faith in them. Sure they’ve delivered for you in the past and they’ll do the same now as well. Unfortunately, however, bringing in your “old buddies” could negatively impact team morale, particularly for the current team. Such situations often lead to a culture of favoritism which can be detrimental for your team and its success. Instead, have more confidence in the team you inherit and give them a chance to align themselves with you.
3. Don’t Let Fear Get the Best of You
As a new leader, you may feel that some team members are out to take your position. While this may or may not be true, the fear that you’re being second guessed and challenged can use up a lot of your time, effort and mental peace. Needless to say that such fear is unproductive and can seriously hamper your chances to succeed. Unfortunately with such fear you’ll also hold back on developing talent in your team because you’ll constantly fear being outgunned. What results is an underperforming team who’s not motivated nor working beyond the call of duty. And because of your fear you’ll never truly trust your team which of course would lead to your leadership’s downfall.
4. Learn and Learn
You’ve made it to the top of the hierarchy. You’re proud of your achievements and you feel you’re on top of your game. Things couldn’t be any better than this, right? You couldn’t possibly know more than you do, because you’re at the top now, right? Wrong! Learning is something that simply just doesn’t end. Every great leader knows that to continuously have an impact and be an even greater leader you need to keep learning. Self-improvement is a lifelong journey and for you to be successful as a leader and as an individual you need to learn and learn some more.
5. It’s Not About You, It’s About Your Team
The journey to become a leader will be challenging and you’ll need to win much respect, be recognized for your contributions and keep striving to achieve more. But once you’ve become a new leader, things change. It’s simply not about you anymore. It’s not about your achievements, your goals, your ambitions, or your success (to a certain extent). Everything you’ve done and earned for yourself is now your goal for your team. It’s about recognizing their efforts and contributions, rewarding them for positive behavior and helping them succeed. Fueling off your team’s successes will speaks volumes about your leadership brand.
6. Listen to your Team
Some cultures thrive on the notion that “the boss is always right”, but quite honestly those aren’t the cultures that prevail or develop internal leaders. Buying into the notion that you, as the new leader, can do no wrong and will always have the final say is very easily setting you up for failure. You’re the new person in the team! There’s much for you to learn and adapt to. Your team can be your best ally in your pursuit for greatness and that’s why it’s imperative you listen to them and value their input. Besides this, if you’re in a room of people who’re constantly using the “yes sir” card, you can be pretty sure you’re not getting the entire picture. Encourage your team members to be vocal about their beliefs, reservations and value and trust them to do the right thing. Empower them and you’ll achieve success faster than you think!
Being a new leader is challenging itself – don’t make it even more so by failing to adopt these habits. Probably the right approach for you would be to adopt best practices of new age leaders and create a leadership style where you respect your surroundings and those who you work with. That, in itself, will enable you to find success.
This article originally appeared in Paul Keijzer.