In my ongoing series for emerging leaders, we’ve discussed three key strategies for getting noticed and growing your leadership and career. If you have not read these articles, you can do so by clicking on the following three links: Emerging Leader, Promotion and Development.
In this blog, we’ll focus on what you do once you have attained that well-deserved promotion.
A CLEAN TRANSITION
You owe it to the team with whom you’ve been working, and to the person who will be taking your role, to set them up for success. Make sure that all of the pertinent positional knowledge you have acquired is passed to your successor and the team. Establish an “open door” for their questions for the first several weeks after you’ve moved into your new role. And, meet with your supervisor to finalize any loose ends and provide feedback or ideas regarding the projects, team and processes you managed or participated in.
CLARIFY ON-BOARDING EXPECTATIONS
It’s likely that you have some understanding of what success looks like in your new role. You might assume that your boss (or a job description) will provide a clear understanding of your responsibilities. I have found, however, that it is often assumed that leaders who have been promoted already know what they need to know to be successful (even when coming from outside the company). It is, however, essential to your on-boarding that you are clear on expectations around role, culture, processes, etc. I recommend that you treat your on-boarding as you would a project. That is, establish goals and time frames to acquire the basic knowledge and skills that will be required for the role. Consider setting timelines regarding what must be accomplished and learned in the first two weeks, in a month, three months and six months (yes, it will likely take you at least six months to begin to feel comfortable and make the impact you are hoping to make).
WORK ENVIRONMENT / CULTURE
The corporate culture may be the biggest consideration in a leader’s ability to be successful in any given company or team. Work environment/culture is often the biggest reason people join a company or new team…and it can also be a deal breaker when it comes to success. So, get clear on how people behave with team members, leaders and customers. Understand how you can contribute to this company culture with your unique leadership style.
- What are the preferred communication methods within the team? For instance, is this an email-driven type of group or are quick huddles more effective?
- How often does your new boss want to be updated on projects?
- Is this a flexible work environment, or a more structured 8 – 5 workday?
You have the basics down. After all, you have brought great knowledge and skills to the team, you seem to fit with the culture and you are learning something new every day. Don’t let your initial accomplishments distract you from continuing to learn, to understand the culture and to build strong relationships and advocates. Don’t get lethargic about your or the company’s goals. Instead, push outside your comfort zone – look for mentors who can help you get to the next level, mentor others, and always communicate and support your team.
Do these things and you will likely be on-boarding your own new leader before you know it!