New leaders are often faced with unexpected challenges. There are always tasks that a previous position did not prepare you for, or that the person who filled the role previously did not warn you about.
Being a leader is about helping those who you work with, to help make them as productive as possible. Oftentimes leaders forget that one of their main goals is to make sure everyone else has as much, if not more, success than they have. This is a challenge – the balance between improving oneself and improving others is difficult to find.
Just a few of the challenges faced by new leaders include:
Immediate success – Leaders are often expected to come into a position to fix an issue that was there; putting pressure on the new leader, who may not have had problem solving experience previously.
Leading former peers – This can be especially difficult if you were promoted above peers that you have been working with at the same level for a while.
Avoid making judgments – You need to take information from previous leaders with a grain of salt. Just because the previous manager did not like an employee, you need to give him/her a chance; the previous manager may just be giving you an opinion. Gathering information about individuals and a workplace culture takes time – have patience, and do not rush into a hasty judgment.
Adjust leadership styles – Many leaders lead in one way, forgetting that there are a variety of leadership styles. To make sure you communicate clearly with everyone, vary your leadership style according to the context and situation.
Hire the right people – New hires need to fit in with current employees, but also be able to fit the job description. Finding that balance in an employee can be difficult for everyone, but especially new leaders.
Continually improve – Not only do you need to lead others to help them improve, you need to improve yourself as a leader and as an individual within the company. There are constantly more topics to learn about and programs to better yourself; just because you have to help others improve does not mean you should give up on yourself.
Encourage productivity – Each team member may need a different type of motivation to be more productive. Learning how you can motivate your team members is challenging, but will benefit you greatly in the long run.
Ask for help – Leaders do not know all the answers, nor should they expect to have them. But often they find themselves stuck and unwilling to ask for help, simply because they were put in a new leadership role. Asking for help does not diminish the position or your status with others – it makes you and others more knowledgeable and opens more doors.
Balance expectations – You may be challenged to find the balance between the expectations of your superiors and the abilities of your team. Being able to balance those two aspects is part of your role, but as a new leader this can be a challenge.
Discipline employees – Being a new leader of an existing team is a difficult transition for leaders, especially when it comes to discipline and coaching. Learn to appreciate accountability as a recipe for helping others win.
Leaders should also be able to work with each generation. There will be disparities and differences between Millennials and baby boomers and everyone in between. Being able to work with everyone at every stage of a career is extremely important – it not only makes him or her like you as a leader, but it also helps make everyone more productive.
As business progresses and the world continues to become more tech savvy, leaders will face more and more challenges along the way. You will have to adjust to new trends, change communication and leadership styles, and continue to improve yourself. Leadership is a worthwhile task, as long as the leaders are willing to work with others.
InitiativeOne helps new leaders learn from their past experiences, teaching them about the tools they already have, and showing them how those tools will work for them in their new roles.