Roy's Blog

May 29, 2017

7 words of advice for the first time leader

You have always reported to another manager or leader. Your “life” up to now has always been doing stuff; delivering what your job description dictated and your boss demanded.

Suddenly you find that your life has changed. You have competed and won the contest to assume a leadership position.

It may be a promotion or it may not be; what’s important, however, is that the existence you have known in the organization is gone forever.

My advice to you is..

1. Don’t assume that what got you here will serve you well going forward. Proficiency in your past endeavours foreshadows very little in terms of what you will achieve going forward.

Past success is simply that - the past. Leave it there and learn what it takes to achieve today and tomorrow.

2. Ask yourself “The Magic Question” to let go of the past and focus on the things you must do to be successful in your new position.
It’s a simple question: “Now that I am in this new position, what do I have to do differently?” Being a member of a team is not very helpful in telling you what you need to do when you are a team leader.

First time leader

3. NEVER forget your roots. You are leaving a history where executing direction supplied from “on the people upstairs” played a critical role in what you were responsible for and probably consumed over 90% of your time.
As a leader, your performance will continue to be judged by what you get done, not what you plan to do - remarkable leaders execute brilliantly.

4. Find a mentor IMMEDIATELY! Yes you can figure some of it out on your own, but to increase your chances of success ask someone who has been there and done it.
When you walk through a new door, best have someone on the other side who can show you the way. And DON’T look for someone who is a friend or colleague; they are of little use to you because they are part of your past. Search for someone who you think can play a role in helping you discover your future.

5. Spend your first 100 days learning the issues of your team. Ask them “If you were me, what single action would you take to make it easier to get the job done?” Don’t accept a grocery list of items; make them think about priorities since you won’t be able to do everything.
You want to boil it down to the critical few things that concern most people in your organization.

Learning team issues

6. “Get intimate” with the strategic game plan of the organization. Learn it at the most granular level you can; translate it to what it means for your team. What EXACTLY does your team have to do in order to “serve” the strategy? The connection between what the strategy says and what your team members do MUST be clear and direct.

7. Ask your “internal customer” how your team is performing; use their input along with your team members to decide what to focus on to improve.
This builds your currency with your internal network and will prove invaluable in getting stuff done as you move forward.

The tipping point in everyone’s career is caused by motion; moving from one position to another.

Make sure you do the right NEW thing.

Let go of what defined you in the past; discover what will define you tomorrow.


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  • Posted 5.29.17 at 05:49 am by Roy Osing
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