The shift from being an individual contributor within a team into a leadership role is exciting but also often daunting. It can be quite overwhelming stepping up and learning new skills while concurrently managing a team and getting them up to speed with their current projects.
So, what can you do to make this a smooth and successful transition? Here are our top tips.
1. Shift your focus
You may have excelled as an operator with strong technical expertise, but as a leader your focus is required to shift. Your role now is about creating and driving a successful team and enabling them to achieve business goals – helping your team develop and showcase their expertise.
2. Cultivate trust and respect
Trust is the key to all relationships. Spend some time getting to know your team, take them out for coffee or lunch. Be available to them to ask questions, share your insights, and demonstrate to them you’ve always got their back. Show your team they can rely on you to back them up, challenge them, take action, and say ‘no’ when necessary.
3. Coaching and training
Invest in learning for your team. Encourage them to attend webinars, training and events, and get them to present and share their learnings with the rest of the team when they return.
4. Time management and delegation
In a leadership role, managing people can take up a large percentage of your time. Your calendar can book up fast! Be available to your team, but stay focused on goals, and be willing to say no to unnecessary meetings. Always ask for the purpose of the meeting before consenting to attend. Use collaborative task/project management tools, like Asana or Trello, to prioritise and manage your time and workload.
Avoid being a middleperson unless absolutely necessary. Be prepared to let go and empower your team by delegating to them. Delegating frees you up to focus on what’s core to your role, and also provides development opportunities for your team.
5. Get a mentor
Recently we looked at the importance of mentoring for progressing the careers of women in energy, but mentoring is a key success factor for any career progression.
Join professional mentoring programs or identify people in your network you’d like to learn from – inside or outside your organisation. Meet up regularly and use the opportunity to ask questions, gain insight into their expertise and develop new skills.
6. Leadership training
Get some leadership training, whether through your organisation or investing in training yourself. Listening to leadership podcasts can also be a great way to upskill yourself. Some great leadership podcasts include Habits of Leadership , Coaching for Leaders, and Future Women Leadership Series.
Provide regular feedback to your team – don’t wait until performance review time. Give them ongoing coaching and feedback throughout the year. Ask your team to give you feedback as well. 360 degree feedback is important for your own professional development.
The transition to leadership can be challenging and rewarding, and by applying these suggested tips for moving into leadership, you’ll be off to a great start.
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