If you are currently in a management role, chances are that your next career move will be in to a leadership role. For most this is probably the most significant step that they will make. At first it can feel like you go from being the person who was totally in control to the person who is struggling. So what, based on experience would be my 5 top tips for emerging leaders?
Tip 1: Recognise it is a different role
It might seem like stating the obvious but often many people fail to recognise that doing the job of a leader is very different to the role of the manager. Management is primarily about ensuring that things run smoothly, people do what they are expected to do and resources are used effectively. Leadership on the other hand is more about creating and driving things forward. That said there are areas of overlap but don’t let this stop you from recognising that the roles are fundamentally different.
Tip 2: Be ready for the feeling of insecurity
Stepping into a leadership role can sometimes be unsettling. You go from a peer group where you were probably one of the top rated people in that group to feeling a bit like a novice again. Don’t let this de-stabilise you. Remember you got selected for a leadership role because you demonstrated that you had what it took to achieve success.
Tip 3: Get support
Being a leader can sometimes be a lonely existence and there are not always people that you can easily turn to for support and guidance. You need to have someone either a coach or mentor who can act as a sounding board and create the space for you to reflect.
Tip 4: Get the best deputy that you can
The person who is your number two is probably the most important person in your team. If that person cannot deliver and take care of things day to day, your ability to achieve success is greatly diminished. Make finding a great number two one of your top priorities.
Tip 5: Continually develop yourself
It is really easy to think that you have made it when you become a leader and become complacent. Avoid this at all costs and make the time to put in place a plan for continued development that sets you up for success.
Stepping into a leadership role is likely to be the biggest career step you take, so focus on setting yourself up for success.
By Dominic Mccarthy