You’ve made it this far — you’ve been given that leadership title everyone in your organization covets. Whether you earned the title, were hired into it, or were in the right place at the right time — you’ve got work to do.
We know you have mixed emotions. A sense of self accomplishment - “I’ve made it!” and yet, you start to stress over the bigger picture — “How do I pull this off?” You’re not alone, but before you drive on, take a moment to celebrate this significant milestone in your career. You’ve obviously worked hard, delivered results, and busted your “you-know-what” to get to this point. It hurts and it takes time, sacrifice, and a lot of added stress — and you did it. Celebrate!
So now what?
There will be folks that support you out of the gate, but others may doubt you, criticize you, and display bitterness for not getting to where you are themselves. How do you respond? How are you going to prove them wrong?
As a “leader” you have vision – and now you have the platform and authority make it happen. With focus and planning, you can identify and articulate what you need to get it done, at least the basics. And that’s a start!
Here’s the catch: you cannot get there alone. You must rely on the collective strength of your teams to be successful. And you will need them behind you to get there. So how do you do it?
You’ve already demonstrated that you know your stuff, and with your new title you have the platform to pontificate. But how do you become a true leader and empower your team to deliver results? You give your team a chance to be heard — share ideas, encourage the "out-of-the-box", remove criticism, act as a mentor, and incorporate insightful feedback and credit the team for it.
Some of the best assets in your organization are buried, layers down. They may not understand the politics or the nuances of the client or corporate environment, but they are passionate, motivated, enthusiastic, and looking for leadership. Reach out and encourage their engagement! Support all-hands, quarterly meetings, seminars, etc. — make it about them - not you - and give them a chance to participate in (and receive recognition for) the creation of the next innovative solution.
You've risen to the level of leadership, whether through accomplishment, accolades or just sure luck, take this tip: Tee up the challenges you need to solve - and then sit back and LISTEN!