Moving into your first leadership role is both daunting and exhilarating. Making the transition within your current organization brings both the advantages and challenges of familiarity. Below are a few things you can do to ensure a successful transition into your new role.
Adjust your vision
Your first challenge will be adjusting your own lens. As a team member, your focus was on your piece of the puzzle. As a leader, you must put all the pieces together. As a service team member, you might have been frustrated with glitches in your customer relations system. But as a leader, you’ll need to also consider the technical team’s opinion that the problem is user error and decide whether a new system or better staff training is the best solution.
It is also important to help your team adjust to seeing you differently. Meet individually with your team members to set expectations. Make your conversations a two-way street and solicit their feedback. As you set or revise goals, be sure to ask about your team’s challenges and how you can be supportive in helping them achieve milestones. Create an environment where team members feel safe having honest, solutions-oriented conversations.
Moving from the role of a team member who talked about the boss with everyone else during happy hour to being that boss requires setting boundaries. You will need to be comfortable communicating tough decisions, addressing performance problems, and rewarding successes. In addition to establishing boundaries in how you interact with your team, you will need to set them for yourself. Managers who are promoted from within can be tempted to jump in to handle work normally assigned to the person in their former role. Doing so can take time and focus away from mastering your new responsibilities.
As a former team member, it is tempting to think you know enough about your organization to make sweeping changes. On the flip side, you may be too comfortable with the status quo to notice where improvements are needed. Take the time to assess customer satisfaction and business processes through your new leadership lens rather than diving into large-scale changes too soon or overlooking areas for growth.