The most common occurrence I have observed over the years when working with new, and usually young, leaders, is the difficulty they have with changing the way they think.
Leaders have to think differently.
The moment you step into the role of being a leader you have to embrace the fact that the way you think, how you approach things, and how you make decisions, has changed.
For most of your working life you have been evaluated on what you do, but for the first time you will be evaluated on what others do.
If you have been promoted out of a team of peers it can be particularly tricky. The way you view the group, and the responsibility you now carry, necessitates that your thinking has to change.
A simple analogy is being a member of a rugby team. I am the flank. I therefore have to worry about being the best flank I can be. Of course, I have to be aware of the other players, the team strategy, and the game plan, but primarily I am being evaluated on being a flank. Then I am made captain, and my whole world changes. I now have to make sure that every member of the team is playing at their best, and I am evaluated on how the whole team performs. At the same time, I still have to be a flank.
Becoming a leader does not make you better or superior. It is just a different role, and the quicker you embrace the role, and with it the way you think, the more effective you and your team will be.
I was once asked to give a young lady some advice because she was about to be married. My advice was “Embrace the suffering.”
Being a leader is a great privilege with many benefits, but it is also a tough job. You need to embrace it, become a student of it, upskill yourself, and think differently.
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