How to Step into a New Leadership Role

Although the idea of becoming a CEO is exciting, many people don’t realize that there’s no actual ‘transition period’ when taking a new leadership role. The company’s problems become yours nearly instantaneously, and everyone is looking at you to resolve them.

There’s no easy step into a leadership role, especially when moving into a position you’ve never done before. But everyone who has been pushed into the spotlight knows there are things you could do to make the transition easier. From SMRT CEO Neo Kian Hong describing taking the helm and meeting everyone on the ground to Apple CEO Tim Cook taking the position after Steve Jobs’s tragic illness, everyone has to do it the hard way, but they have their strategies that people can sue to handle teams and businesses.

Assess Your Environment

Analyzing a team from the outside as an executive vastly differs from understanding it as a colleague. For example, using deprecating humor was fun when going out with friends after work, but now that you’re taking on a leadership role, this approach can significantly degrade your authority and credibility. Look at your co-workers as team members instead of friends and understand their professional capabilities.

Recognize you’re moving into a position with the power to impact their careers, so know your professional strengths and weaknesses and areas that you need to change for the benefit of your team and company.

Talk to Everyone

Although you need to lead by example, the worst thing you can do when diving into a leadership role is leading by herd mentality. It’s best to devote some of your time to meet with each team member and have a conversation with them. Let them know that both of your successes depend on working together and that they can be open to you. Make this a regular thing, and you’ll be achieving productivity and maintaining strong working relationships in no time.

Listen to Your Team

team meeting

As a leader, to efficiently communicate with your team, the best tone to take is one of a listener. Doing this allows your team to trust you and encourage them to be more open, promoting a healthier and more efficient work environment.

Critique Workers in Private

Remember that no team is perfect, but when providing constructive criticism to employees, make sure to encourage them away from the crowd. Doing this allows that employee to focus on work they need to do better rather than what their co-workers may think of them and give them the chance to share potential issues that they believe may be affecting their performance.

Don’t Hesitate to Make Unpopular Decisions

New business executives typically aren’t brought onto a company’s ranks when everything’s going smoothly, so expect a couple of problems during your first months of taking in a leadership role — and that includes making ‘unpopular’ decisions. After all, nobody wants to walk into an organization and immediately be disliked.

But, because of this, most new executives become hesitant to share their big plans, eventually becoming acclimated to the company’s environment and how it runs. Don’t let this happen to you, especially when you know some serious changes need to be done — so stay on course and share your suggestions to avoid trouble later on.

Going from colleague to manager can be overwhelming for any inexperienced young leader. But the tips mentioned can help you get started in the right direction and ensure a seamless transition.

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