I became a leader for the first time in the 1980s. My boss had decided to adopt a child, and become a stay-at-home mom. She and her husband were told the wait list for a new baby was very long.
Much to everyone’s surprise, their little arrival arrived a lot sooner than expected. We’re talking notification on a Tuesday, and my boss gone that Thursday!
Like many people who suddenly find themselves in a leadership role, I was petrified. I knew I was eventually going to be stepping up to the plate, but thought I would have more time in the bullpen first.
Today, many more people are thrust into leadership roles without any warning, and without any training or mentoring. Do companies really think it’s only one person’s job that’s on the line here?
When a new leader feels too uncomfortable and insecure, the whole team is at risk. So, to help all you overnight leaders, here are some quick tips that helped me:
- Think of all the crummy bosses and teammates you’ve ever had: what did they do that drove you crazy? Don’t do that.
- Think of all the great bosses and teammates you’ve ever had: what did they do that helped you be better? Do that.
- If you don’t have many (or any) bosses or teammates as a reference point, look to your family and friends, and draw inspiration from them. After all, family and friends are leaders and teammates too.
- Take more of your focus off you and put it on your team. That’s where it belongs. When your job is to help others, it takes you out of yourself and lessens your fear.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback—that’s how you get better. Even Ed Koch, one of our city’s greatest leaders, was known for asking, “Hey! How’m I doing?” Do that too.
Good luck! I hope these quick tips helped you.
Hey! How’m I doing?
Copyright 2013 Michelle Kerrigan