6 leadership truths all entrepreneurs should know
'It's not about you', and other tough lessons to consider
While starting a new role in a leadership position is certainly exciting, these type of positions come with their own, fair share of overwhelming responsibility. Surrounded by instant pressure, taking on a leadership position can be a stressful exercise. However, it also provides an opportunity for individuals to prove themselves, as well as showcase their talents and abilities.
This is according to Kay Vittee, CEO of Kelly, who says that although making a successful transition into a leadership role is never easy, the success (or failure) of a leader during the first months is usually a good indication of their future or long-term performance in the role.
"The best leaders know that their success or failure depends on their ability to inspire, guide and harness relationships both internally and outside the organisation."
Vittee further explains that as a leader transitions into their new role, everyone automatically expects to see immediate change within the organisation.
"During this time, the leader could potentially find themselves in a very uncomfortable position, battling to build relationships with the right people, and failing to fully understand what their new role entails. So if indeed the leaders’ transition is not in an upward trajectory from the word go, then their future in the role could certainly appear bleak," she comments.
So what exactly does it take to make a successful transition into a new leadership role? Vittee recommends the following tips:
1. Know the difference between managing and leading – make leadership your goal
Leaders inspire, while managers control. As a leader, your role will require that you oversee bigger organisational ventures, staff, departmental goals, and more. To achieve this, you will need to always ensure that the moving parts remain connected in order to consistently achieve the overall goals of the organisation.
You will be the principal problem solver of the organisation
You were put into a leadership role for a reason, and generally, that reason involves solving problems which might exist within the organisation. Ensure that you are aware of these problems, familiarise yourself with them and always have a well devised strategy in place to deal with them.
Continually reviewing the organisation’s objectives is essential
This, too, will be your responsibility. These objectives will be given to you by upper management and information gathered from other sources.
"The best leaders know that their success or failure depends on their ability to inspire, guide and harness relationships both internally and outside the organisation"
2. Get a mentor
Despite the expertise which has put you in a leadership position, it is always a good idea to seek the guidance of a mentor who has more knowledge and experience than you. Choose someone that is willing to advise and guide you.
3. Time management is key
As a leader, time management is a key aspect of your role. You will be confronted with a myriad of responsibilities, and successfully juggling them, will require effective planning in order to multi-task successfully.
4. Improve communication
Communication is one of the pillars of successful business, and the cornerstone of successful leadership. Be clear about status updates and expectations for projects.
5. Understand it's not about you
True leaders understand that their success is dependent on those they serve. When it comes to your staff, it's imperative that you invest enough time to get to know them, and by doing so, learn what they need from you to succeed.
6. Trust your team's abilities
Micromanagement is counterproductive. Instead, show your staff that you trust them enough to give them the chance to shine. By doing so, you will not only improve confidence in their individual abilities, but you will also have a bird’s eye view to establish if everyone on the team is doing their part, and not merely relying on the efforts of others.
"Success in putting the above tips into practice, which will ensure a smooth transition. Being a good manager can be a challenge at the best of times, and in order to succeed in this position, you must realise that your success is directly dependent on the success of your team," concludes Vittee.