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You’re a Leader. Now What?

Congratulations….you got the promotion into a position of leadership…. Now what? You’ve gone from being managed to doing the managing without a “how to” book (and no…manuals tell you the bare minimum. It’s the intangibles, intuitive power of a born leader or one with extensive experience that really make it ‘work’). As an executive coach I’m sure you expect me to say that experience beats any book. I know I’ll get flack from that one. I’ll concede and say the most powerful combination of all are books and experience. Doing beats reading about it any day!

Congratulations….you got the promotion into a position of leadership…. Now what?

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You’ve gone from being managed to doing the managing without a “how to” book (and no…manuals tell you the bare minimum. It’s the intangibles, intuitive power of a born leader or one with extensive experience that really make it ‘work’). As an executive coach I’m sure you expect me to say that experience beats any book. I know I’ll get flack from that one. I’ll concede and say the most powerful combination of all are books and experience. Doing beats reading about it any day!

So how do you make that transition? People are often catapulted into positions of leadership they’re nowhere near ready for. They end up being overwhelmed and under-qualified when it comes to leading. It’s not that these individuals aren’t capable. That’s not it at all. It’s just that they’ve been put into positions without the proper training and told to “just do it” or “figure it out”.

Large organizations wouldn’t hear of letting someone loose with a dangerous piece of equipment without having the appropriate training, so why is it many companies put people in the positions of power, having a direct impact on staff, the bottom line and future of an organization with sometimes no training at all?

My three cents for starters so you’re ahead of the game and not just keeping your head above water is this:

•Call in a coach, one who’s a good fit. Like any professional you should choose one who resonates, who you can relate to and respect.

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• Don’t ever forget where you were before you got here

• Don’t be a know-it-all. Because you’re not perfect so get over yourself and listen, especially at the beginning. Everyone has something to learn and if you’re a new leader, you need to learn more than most; even the bare basics.

• Lead each person according to their strengths and let them be known by their talents. But figure out a commonality at the same time to bring all those talented minds together to work as one. The team might not be unique but each one making up that team, is.

• Pick and choose what you spend your energy on, especially at the beginning. Do something you’ve already been successful at to achieve what I call a quick and dirty or early success. It’s much easier to get the staff on board if they feel you’re successful. They’ll want it too!

• Let others know what you’re passionate about so they see you from a position of energy and enthusiasm. That’ll capture their imagination and attention.

That’s about it….for now. If you have any others to add, I’m all ears. Let us all know!

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Donna Karlin • Executive and Political Shadow Coach™ • Ottawa, Canada • donnakarlin@abetterperspective.comwww.abetterperspective.com

About the author

Donna Karlin CEC, Diplomate IABMCP and founder and principal of A Better Perspective® & The School of Shadow Coaching, has pioneered the specialized practice of Shadow Coaching® with global political, government, business and senior organizational leaders in the public and private sectors. Donna capitalizes on almost 30 years of experience in coaching, consulting and training to help clients and their organizations evolve into their level of excellence.

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