You might already be in a position of leadership, or you might have recently been promoted or put yourself forward for a new role. Whatever stage of leadership you’re in, it’s time to change your strategy.
Being a leader requires next-level thinking. You need to prepare mentally, physically and emotionally. What got you to this position of leadership isn’t going to create the thinking that you need to perform at your best.
Luckily for you, we’ve got a few tips and strategies to help you do just that.
The first tip we have for you is to shift your focus to other people. It’s no longer about you being the best you can be at your job. Now, your actions and leadership will impact others, so you should be more focused on getting the work done through them.
One of the first things people say when we coach them in leadership positions is, “Oh, that’s right, it’s not about me anymore.” It’s key to remember that and to shift your mindset and focus if you want you and your team to reach your goals.
You can only do that when you have a certain level of self-awareness and self-regulation in the way which you operate.
It’s a good idea to have a few people who you admire and can look to as role models. Think about leaders who are already at that next level of thinking and start to model some of their behaviours.
Lots of our clients tell us there isn’t anyone in their organisation they can think of. But we encourage you to look a little bit wider, broader and deeper.
It’s not everything they do. There will just be some elements of what they do that you can use to model your behaviours and actions as a leader. For example, they might be very good at bringing a group together, or managing a meeting. It could just be how they create a sense of team.
Just take the time to look at the leaders in your organisation that you admire and pick apart some things you would like to model yourself. Perhaps the quality of their questioning, the quality of their reports, or their written communication.
It’s important that anybody - no matter their job title or power of influence - reflect on feedback. But it’s especially useful for leaders, particularly those new to a leadership position.
Once you step into a leadership role, feedback becomes tenfold. People will begin to listen, judge and take more notice of the way you communicate to them.
So, just be really mindful of modulating and dialling down that high-thinking style. On the flip side, if you’re a ‘feeling’ type of person, or a person who wants to be liked, that will be dialed up.
Everyone likes to be liked. But be sure you’re not shying away from those difficult conversations just because you want to be liked as a leader. Take time to study yourself, notice what your tendencies are and reflect on those.
Our next tip is to be clear about what you want to achieve as a leader at this next level. It might be to get your team up and running and performing well in the first 30 days. Or to touch base with your stakeholders.
Make a list of around five things you want to achieve and keep it visible. This is absolutely imperative if you want to prepare yourself for the next level of leadership.
Find somebody in your organisation who can hold you accountable, because it will make all the difference to your success as a leader in this next level of thinking. You will have other people who were either at the same level as you, or were promoted at a similar time to you. Make that connection and start to create a sense of community where you can show your issues.
So there you have our top five tips to up your level of thinking in preparation for leadership:
It’s about others, not you
Be mindful of your impact on others
Reflect on the feedback you’re given/have been given in the past
Have clear, measurable goals
Have a mentor, buddy or coach to help guide you
And if you’re up for some next-level support, take a look at our brand-new program for new and emerging leaders - What Every New and Emerging Leader Manager Needs to Know About Lead...
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