A New Dawn of Leadership

A New Dawn of Leadership

We all know the wisdom of listening and getting quick wins in a new job. There are plenty of books on the subject that drive home the  importance of starting an new job with a plan.

If you aren’t in a new job, keep reading and think about job renewal.

I have at least eight clients who have started or will start a new, big job soon. So, I thought I’d capture my top five keys to success this morning.

  1. Get to know the peoplereally get to know the people on your team. Of course, you will meet with each person and with your team to get started. Your new direct reports will likely be interested in talking about the work, their background and capability, and all the potential barriers that you can help them with. But, the beginning is a critical time to populate your own spreadsheet of data on each person. Ask about their personal and professional history, share yours. Ask about what helps them succeed or fail, and share the same about you. Observe patterns of dialogue and behaviors over the first six months. Even if you think you know the people, you may be surprised about what you didn’t know.
  2. Understand the history, everyday environment, and climate for change. We are so quick to assume we know what needs to be done. A few conversations on “how the organization works” and we are ready to apply our background. Again, if you have lived in the same organization, you may be even more prone to skip this work. Take the time to reflect and gather “case” examples of success and failures. You can even conduct a team meeting to brainstorm and diagnose the climate for change, improvement, or innovation—or, the climate for sustaining the current momentum.
  3. Stimulate your vision—let it percolate. Dig in and challenge the goals and aspirations of your new team, unit, or company. The key here, again, is to take the time to iterate and create a truly compelling vision. Only over time will your vision become crystal clear and grounded in the real change required. And, if you are following a terrific leader, don’t hesitate to re-envision their version of the future.
  4. Set clear, demanding expectations early—demanding, yet caring. I think one of the most interesting attributes for a leader is the blend of being very demanding of the people and results delivered, yet caring about the individual, dynamics, and historical story. Often a new leader charges ahead with strong demands and loses his or her connection with people. Or, a leader can inch ahead worrying about taxing the organization too soon. A great leader can be both demanding of the organization, pulling forward great results, and deeply connected to the real people who produce those results.
  5. Flip the switch on your leadership—take the new job as a new opportunity for you as a leader. Recall a time when you had the opportunity to begin again. When you when to university, shedding your high school persona. When you moved to a city from the country and could  explore a whole new side to yourself. Even if you take a job with the same organizational unit, you can show up very intentionally. Shed some part of your leadership reputation, or bring a new part into existence.

It’s exciting times!

So, if you are not in a new, big job, the opportunity is the same. All you have to do is declare a new start.

This week, consider starting with a new plan to reinvent your role and leadership mode. You might have to get some new friends, or shake things up a bit. But, it could be great fun or, at least, interesting.