Jean Kelley is a leadership development practitioner in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. Watch for the release of her new book, Discover the Leader in You, and check out her last book, Look Leap Lead.
How You Will Personally Succeed and Learn as a New Leader
The crucial thing to remember is that you’re judged by what people see you doing, or not doing, not your good intentions. So, ask yourself, “What do I need to be doing that I’m not doing now to be more credible?” Immediately find out what good looks like and who will judge good.
Tip One: Communicate and connect with each person on your team.
The great leaders start by listening and learning about their individual team members interests and aspirations. Ask them what they aspire to, and what they want to be doing in 1-2 years. Then, be their mentor. Give them visible work and talk up their accomplishments. Listen more than talk, ask more than tell. Learn everyone’s strengths, find out what they value, and leverage their skills
Tip Two: Create a cycle of performance, success, and feedback.
Give your team clear expectations and timelines and then provide consistent feedback. On-going feedback puts you in an active role as part of their success. Share your own challenges, too. They may see your challenges with fresh eyes that help you create a novel solution. Shine a light on your team’s successes by letting your boss know how your team helped with customers, how they solved problems, and how they contributed to reaching your team’s goals. Highly performing teams begin with specific, reasonable goals, achieving those goals, and learning from feedback. That cycle of performance is a force that builds momentum and creates even more team energy. Shared success and strong team members build an agile, interdependent, fully engaged team.
Tip Three: Your consistency and predictability builds trust.
Trust binds a leader and team together. Predictable leaders are good coaches who quickly recognize when someone needs help. Ask for other’s opinions. Implement some of their solutions. When trust and bonds exist in a team, the urge to give and to produce has its own energy. When a problem happens, be diplomatic, straightforward and be a leader who becomes a performance coach. Your consistent honesty makes you predictable. Don’t hide bad news. Both good news and bad news keeps everyone involved and accountable. That not only keeps your team in the loop but also lets people be creative about possibilities to manage complex situations.
Tip Four: Be willing to change some of your behaviors, to adapt, and to learn.
Leaders take risks, they transform work, themselves, and outcomes. They are willing to step out of a comfort zone to be innovative and they try new ways to approach old problems with new ideas. They give their team the permission to say what they think, and in turn, they allow them to be creative. Give them an environment to present an opinion. When you do, they will.
Great leaders seek out others’ opinions and ask questions. When they don’t know the answer to a question they say, “I don’t know.” When in a new job, hire people you consider as equals and who could do your job maybe even better than you. That way you have others to learn from and who offer complimentary perspectives. Then results and achievements are forged together.
In summary, be strategic and know who and what you need to know to achieve results. Cultivate your team and your peers along with your boss, because they are the people who will help you accomplish results. By using this winning combination, you won’t be the new leader for long. You’ll be the new star!
© Jean Kelley and Betty Bailey Coming Soon: Discover the Leader in You: 12 Essential Capabilities, watch for the book!