The first impression you make as a leader will have a lasting impact on your people and success. We know the expectation that lays upon us when we take either our first, or a new leadership role. Firstly there is your family and friends who are so proud of you and have probably celebrated with your new appointment. Then there are your old colleagues, who have all got an opinion on your new role, some wanting you to succeed, others waiting, wanting you to fail out of jealousy. Then of course there are all of the people in the business for who you are now supposed to be leading. They will naturally be nervous, perhaps excited for change or others who maybe totally resistant and sceptical.
Your world is watching you and now it’s up to you to make an impact and be a success. No pressure there then. But there are 5 secrets successful newly appointments leaders do which will help you to make a positive impact.
You have certain skills, strengths and experience which has enabled you to secure this level of responsibility, but there is so much you don’t yet know. Humility and openness shows real courage and strength of character. Take time to build relationships with your team, ask questions for which you have no answers, listen to people’s stories, opinions and ideas and absorb. The most successful leaders are skilled listeners, and listen to understand, without judgement or jumping to conclusions. You are in a unique position where you can set the tone of your working relationship and listening and humility can catapult those relationships and leave a lasting impact.
You know the phrase Only fools rush in?
It’s stuck because we know it’s true. It is tempting to be bold and make an impact, but making changes in your first few weeks can lead to disaster and break all ties with trust. Instead learn patience and be an observer. Meet people from all roles and levels in the business and take time to engage with them and ask them questions. During this time you are gaining important insights into the blocks and barriers to success and formulating your vision for change.
Create a team
It’s lonely at the top and your senior team should be your key to success, but fail to create a team and you will get stuck in politics, cliques and egos, which is more common than not. That is not the impact you want if you want results. Successful leaders do not underestimate the time and effort it takes to create a unified team. After you’ve spent time with the individuals, listening to their issues, ideas and concerns, successful leaders spend time and energy in building teamwork. To unify a group of people against a common cause or goal is easier the sooner you do it. It starts with trust.
Craft a vision
Once you have collected all the data, information and observations from your people, you are able to create a vision and mission for your business. This is your commitment and legacy and so don’t hold back. What is the difference you really want to make with this great responsibility? Don’t be afraid to speak up and share that vision. People want to get behind a leader, to belong, so be bold and courageous in crafting your vision.
Successful leaders have integrity. They are self aware and are able to speak their truth without fear of ego, judgement or criticism. Be true to yourself and true to your followers and never stop practicing the five secrets.
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