Not everyone is ready to lead others. Maybe you’re in a situation where you need to prove to someone else that you are ready to.
As an officer in the Marines, in coaching leaders through some of our Cortex Leadership programs, and being just under 30, Courtland James, has a solid perspective on what it takes to prepare to be a leader. Here are Courtland’s thoughts in regard to some key questions on the topic:
How do you know if you are ready to lead?
“If you were truly ready to lead others, then you understand that leadership is more than just having authority. It’s about being responsible for the results of yourself AND everyone on your team. Your ability to deliver results may have gotten you promoted, but it’s your ability to help other’s achieve results that will help you thrive in a leadership role.”
What are some things new leaders can do to ensure success in their new role?
“New leaders will be very successful if they are aware of their communication style and can communicate effectively with other behavioral styles as well. A leader’s job is all about creating shared meaning around an objective and inspiring others to achieve great results. Effective communication is at the heart of that.”
What is something to avoid as a new leader that might lead to a bad outcome?
“I commonly see new leaders struggle when it comes to initiating change within their new role. Either the new leader is trying to change everything all at once or they fail to move the needle in a positive direction soon enough. Generally, a leader’s first 90 days are an important time to make some constructive improvements. The best practice I’ve seen is to take the first several weeks to just learn about everyone on the team and the current culture without making any changes. Then identify 2-3 high impact improvements to focus on for the first few months and make them happen.”
What are some tips for employee’s desiring to move into that first leadership role?
“The absolute best thing an employee can do to earn the privilege of leading others is to grow where they are planted. Excelling in your current role demonstrates your ability to deliver the results asked of you. You are promoted based on your potential to deliver future results. If you aren’t delivering in your current role, no manager will make the leap to believe you can deliver if given more responsibility and even more challenging projects.”
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