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4 Ways To Make The Transition From Great Employee to Great Leader

Corporate life is strange. I could list all the ways that it’s strange, but if you’ve ever spent any time there, the sentence needs no real explanation.  

We’re all highly skilled adults but without proper structure and leadership any group can very quickly devolve into chaos. 

Being a leader, although it’s essential to the survival and growth of a company, isn’t easy.

Often times great workers are promoted into positions of management. With an expectation of providing leadership and are then expected to thrive with little to no support or resources to help them do that.

Having a great employee struggling in a new position they are ill equipped to handle is detrimental to both the company and the employee, but there is another huge causality that is often overlooked. 

The team that leader is supposed to be leading, who is desperately in need of leadership, isn’t getting it. 

Moving from being a stand out employee on a team to leading a team is not an easy transition, especially when you are expected to lead the team you used to be a part of.

Leadership is about creating great and lasting relationships with people at all levels, to guide your team to the next level of growth.  A good leader can make a mediocre team great.  A poor leader can ruin a great team.

You need to be a motivator, a mentor, an expert and a student, and a trusted adviser to everyone on your team. That’s a tall order. Especially with no support to help you develop those new skills. 

So if you have recently been promoted to a leadership position and are struggling to find your feet, it’s not you! It’s that your company assumed that your previous skill set will carry you though in this new role.  

Here are 4 ways to building your leadership skills:

1. Clarify Leadership Goals

How is great leadership defined in your company and for your team? Most manager positions come with an expectation of leadership, clearly define what that leadership is.

2. Self Assessment

What skills do you need to meet that goal? What skills do you already have that can be leveraged in your new role. Which skills do you need to develop to enhance your current skill set? This is not a reflection of your worth as a human or your ability to do your new job. it’s an objective assessment that will allow you to create a plan to develop your leadership skills and shine in your new role.

3. Seek Tools

Once you know what you need, seek out those tools and resources.  So many people equate needing tools or help with weakness.  Knowing you need tools is a sign of strength.  If you had a headache would it be weak to look for a Tylenol? Of course not!  Better to seek out help then live with the consequence of living without it. 

4. Be Direct About What You Need

A good leader recognizes the strength and development opportunities of their team, so in an ideal world your boss (leader) would ask you what you need.  Unfortunately, this world is far from ideal. Everyone is busy, especially your boss, they may be more than willing to get you anything you need, you just might need to ask for it. 

Your company has committed to developing internal talent by making you a leader in your organization.  It is unreasonable to expect that you can do that with your previous skill set.  They expected to invest in you to retain you. You bring a wealth of culture and industry knowledge that the would not get by hiring externally. Adding in tools and resources to allow you to excel in your new role is the best investment they will ever make.


About The Author

Shauna Gingras is the founder/VP of Project Management at SRP Consulting.  Shauna founded SRP Consulting in 2015 to bring her  experience working with large clients in business and technology to the changing small business market.  Since it’s founding, SRP Consulting has grown to include consultants from 5 countries providing consulting and advisory services to their clients throughout North America and Europe.

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