I often get asked what advice I’d give to people advancing into a leadership position for the first time.
As a first-time leader, it’s really important that you get a strong foundation.
If you don’t get off on the right foot as a new leader, you’ll run into challenges.
Your team won’t have any confidence in your ability and they won’t believe you deserve the position.
When this happens, they’ll come up with their own ideas.
They’ll veer from the pathway that you’re trying to lead them on.
They may decide that they don’t want to work for someone that doesn’t have the skillset to be a leader.
Then, they’ll leave you.
When this happens, you start to develop retention issues.
This can lead to productivity issues and will cost you.
If you don’t get good advice as a new leader, you’ll struggle.
Here are four tips that I give to every first-time leader.
1. Earn your leadership.
Recognize that you must earn your leadership every day.
You may have the title and the office, but you’re only given respect for one day.
After your first day, you must continue to earn the respect of those around you.
Don’t expect people to bow down to you just because you’ve been given the title of a leader.
We’ve all seen leaders that get titles through a friend hookup, or just by outlasting everyone else in the organization.
This is what people could be thinking about you.
You’ve got to show them that you deserve their respect as a leader.
You’ve got to show up and do things that great leaders do.
You’ve got to become the executive that everyone admires.
How do you do that?
2. Get to know your people.
You’ve really got to understand the team you lead.
What inspires them?
What makes them tick?
What do they do well?
What don’t they do well?
Knowing these things are the basics of being a great leader.
How can you leverage the talent of your team if you don’t know what their talents are?
Another part of knowing your team is knowing those close to them.
Do you know their partner’s name?
Do you know the names of their children?
When is their birthday?
What’s their favorite movie?
Where did they grow up?
And the most important thing that you should know is why they chose to work for your organization.
The great resignation showed us why this is important.
No one is willing to deal with raggedy bosses and organizations that don’t take care of their people.
They will quit.
So, you need to know why they are choosing to work here.
As a new leader, they didn’t choose to work for you.
So, you should know what their motivations are and what they expect from a leader.
3. Know your leadership values.
This is something you should know before taking on any leadership position.
Values are critical to how you operate as a leader.
Are your values solid?
What are your non-negotiables as leader?
What standards will you hold yourself to as a leader?
These are the values that I hold very close to my heart:
I will always serve people first.
Service is more important than leadership.
Empowerment is the essence of leadership.
How can I give you resources so that you can determine your own destiny?
That is the reason I am sharing this information.
It is my fundamental belief that as a leader, it is my responsibility to make the world a better place.
The world is unfair and people experience unfairness every day.
But the greatest leaders are the ones that know that they have the ability and the opportunity to do something to make things better.
You may not be able to solve everything, but you can do something to make it right.
There’s something wrong with the team you are now leading.
Do you want to solve those things and make the world, your organization and your team fairer?
How will you leave this organization better than you found it?
Is your team going to be better off because you were there?
You’ve got to focus on your values.
If you don’t know them, you need to come up with them.
This will be a tremendous help to make you successful in your new role.
4. Focus on your personal growth.
You should find a way to invest in yourself as a leader every year.
What got you into this role, won’t be enough to keep you in this role.
You’ve got to develop yourself as a leader because the world is changing so rapidly.
The problems that you will face tomorrow don’t exist today.
The only way you equip yourself to be able to address those challenges is by developing yourself as a leader.
I’ve never seen an organization outgrow its leadership.
Your organization is going to grow, but they’re going to reach a cap and will never be able to go any higher than you go as a leader.
So, it’s your responsibility to continue to grow yourself higher and higher.
If an organization does outgrow its leader, then that leader gets terminated.
I don’t want that to happen to you.
Invest in your personal development and your growth every year.
You should be spending more on your personal growth and development every year than you spend on car payments in that year.
If you have a car payment that’s $500 a month, you should be spending $500 a month on your personal growth and development.
That means attending a conference, taking a course or signing up for a training.
Do something to become a better leader.
Reading books is good, but it’s not enough.
Enroll in classes or hire a mentor.
You should not be afraid to spend money on yourself.
I spend more money on my personal development every year than my car payment, and it hasn’t failed me yet.
If you don’t have a car payment, you should be spending between $500 and $1000 a month on your personal growth and development.
If you’re not doing that, you won’t stay in your leadership position for long.
Those are the four tips that I’ll give to any new leader to help them be successful.
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