So, You’re a New Leader
“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” —Henry A. Kissinger
By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM
A New Leader
So, you’ve been promoted into a leadership position. While, as the leader, you are now responsible to plan and direct the actions of those you lead, more importantly, you must learn to inspire and empower them. You are now under the scrutiny of your new team. They want to know if you are worthy to be followed. It’s up to you to earn their trust and respect. They are going to be looking to you to provide a sense of purpose that each of them can buy into.
Are you prepared to lead? One of the very first things you must do as a new leader is to determine where you’re starting from, where you need to be going, and the obstacles you may face. You need to learn how things really work on the front lines so you will be better prepared provide direction and make decisions. You need to get to know your team and earn their respect. Here are some starting points for your leadership journey.
Followers need to know that you believe in yourself. This is not arrogance but confidence. Do your homework; make sure that when you speak you know what you are talking about and then trust yourself and your judgment. Set out on a quest to continually gain new knowledge and experiences. Show followers that you are competent to lead. Live your life as an example that you can be proud of.
Establish a foundation
Establish a solid foundation of principles, expectations, and values. Develop and clearly demonstrate through your words and actions a shared purpose and vision. Provide meaningful work where followers can take pride in their contributions. Demonstrate the authenticity of your intentions through transparent and open communication.
Develop a culture that values consistent behavior, the sharing of knowledge, and encourages collaboration. Put the right people in the right roles and show a commitment helping them become successful. Commit to quality and set up measures to monitor results. Ask great questions and really listen to the answers. Foster an environment of strong relationships, teamwork, and collaboration.
Be supportive of your employees. Clearly outline your expectations and give them the opportunity to come up with their own ideas rather than you dictating what they should do. Value each member of your team for what they can contribute not for their position. Remember, you don’t have all the answers so trust the knowledge and skills of your team members. Engage and encourage each of your followers to participate in the leadership of the organization. Help followers to continue to develop personally and professionally.
Encourage your team to challenge the status quo with innovative thinking. Urge team members to voice differing perspectives, not for conflict, but to improve performance. Encourage team members to connect authentically and show them how by the example you set. Form a diverse team to ensure a continual supply of new perspectives. Emphasize accountability and ownership. Give credit to team members where and when it is due.
Your character will play a pivotal role in your success or failure as a leader. Make sure your service is focused on others and not self-serving. Know what you stand for and why. Be committed to your values and principles. Always be authentic. Lead with purpose and compassion. Demonstrate patience and strength under pressure.
Build deep and meaningful relationships with those you work with. Show everyone they matter by giving them your time and making them feel valued. Show them that you recognize and appreciate their efforts. Demonstrate your competence. Do what others won’t and be willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Be courageous and embrace the lessons that failure has to offer. Show humility. Be fair and consistent in your leadership. Be a good listener. Always practice what you preach. And, strive to inspire and motivate those around you.
Lead for the right reasons. If your intentions are not authentic your employees will quickly see through the façade and you will lose their trust and respect. Lead not for the benefits to you personally but to leave a legacy through the lives you have impacted. Be a compassionate leader. Share your wisdom. Help others grow and reach their full potential. Share and grow your vision. Always stand by your principles. Inspire all who come in contact with you. Serve to encourage and lift others through inspiration and hope.
As a new leader you must determine where your team is, where they are going, and how they are going to get there. You need a strong vision for the future that your team can support. If you always put the needs of your team before your own they will become your loyal supporters. Don’t lead for the sake of the position; take this new opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those you work with. Leadership is a journey, not a destination.
© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli
Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.
Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.