Whether you’re being hired from within or switching organizations altogether, transitioning into a new leadership role can be extremely daunting—a valid reaction considering a large portion of new leaders end up leaving their positions within their first two years on the job.
But why do such proficient, well-respected individuals have such trouble staying afloat in their new leadership roles? Unfortunately, many transitioning leaders are set up for failure from the get-go because there’s a significant disconnect between what new leaders plan to accomplish and what actions actually expected of them.
Recently onboarded leaders should focus on these 5 essential check-list items to best address the common hurdles experienced throughout the transitional period:
- Develop and share an inspiring vision. To be a great leader, you must learn how to inspire others — helping them to both understand and support your organization’s vision. Specifically for nonprofits, developing a powerful mission and a clear path toward achieving mission objectives will inspire others to commit to their assigned priorities.
- Recognize what others expect of you. One of the biggest downfalls for new leaders is basing their goals off of assumptions. Rather than guessing what is expected of you, take initiative and explicitly ask key stakeholders what their expectations are. Have one-one one conversations with your fellow leaders to better identify organizational priorities, so you have a clearer idea of how your role will lend itself to achieving big-picture objectives.
- Tweak your leadership style when necessary. Your leadership formula is not necessarily one-size-fits-all. Observe how your employees interact, what sparks their interest, how day-to-day operations run, and then adjust your management style to fit these current circumstances. Your team will appreciate the fact that you’ve taken the time to learn and absorb the company culture.
- Create a sense of reciprocated trust amongst the team. In order to nurture a high-performing team, you must first cultivate relationships with your employees as they are your greatest support system—providing you information, resources and guidance. Building these durable relationships, based on mutual trust, will make your job that much easier (and more enjoyable).
- Help generate meaningful, measurable results. Simply put, new leaders are brought onboard to strengthen an organization and bring about results. Generating results that align with stakeholders’ expectations, and are made visible to your team, will help you develop a track record and ultimately showcase your leadership capabilities.
Although certain tactics might have been effective at one’s previous job, learning how to adjust leadership methods to cultivate new relationships and create sustainable organizational change is critical for long-term success.