With many of my coaching clients our conversations have been focusing on the pivots they have made throughout their careers. We are definitely living through some edgy times where leaders are consistently being asked to take on new job responsibilities at a record pace. Moving into new waters of a position or a different organization can be both exciting and nerve racking at the same time. Initially we can be overly consumed imagining what our future career path might look like. Then leaders settle in and start to ponder the reality of walking through some new doors. What comes next is the hard truth of an actual transition into the unchartered territory.
Leaders may ask themselves many questions about the transition they are about to embark on:
“What will be my real role and responsibilities?’
“Will I have to continue doing things the way they have always been done?”
“How will I be received in this new spot?”
“Who will be there to support me?”
“What skills or experiences do I need to hit the ground running?”
Here are six leadership strategies to nail a transition:
1. Acknowledge There Is A Time of Transition
For some leaders the transition element of a job or career change is often neglected. They accept a new position and assume they will go merrily on their way as they step into their new role. The thing is, most leaders forget about the time “in-between” learning and mastering the pivot. There needs to be a purposeful and dedicated phase to move one foot out of an old situation and one foot into the new world.
2. Become An Explorer
As with any career change, there needs to be a time of discovery. It can be extremely helpful to put on an explorer’s cap and commit to gaining a clearer picture of what the new land will look like.
- Observe the physical layout. Check out the workspace as well as the surrounding areas.
- Listen for what’s most important in a daily routine.
- Connect with the team members to get to know them and their jobs more deeply.
- Just be an explorer to gain as much information as possible.
3. Cement A Team of Supporters
Leaders need a fan club as well as a council of trusted advisors. During the time of transition, reach out to colleagues, bosses and friends who are willing to give you honest feedback and ask you powerful questions to succeed. This group of individuals will be a treasure trove of insights as well as a valuable resource as they have your best interests at heart.
4. Create A List of Non-Negotiables
During transition, start to make up a list of what is most important to you to be successful in the new position. Leaders who are in touch with their feelings and have a good idea of how they want to lead will be ahead of the game.
- What are the non-negotiables in working with the new team?
- How will you bring your authentic side to be a more vulnerable and trustworthy leader?
- What might an impactful communication style look like?
5. Devise A Plan That Is Meaningful and Sustainable
The transition time helps leaders to design their plan of action and the steps they want to take. Once they are clear of their roles and responsibilities, they are able to map out their priorities. Be crystal clear on goals and objectives, making sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound (SMART). Keep in mind that they may have to be adjusted after being in the job for a bit.
6. Document the Transition
Finally, the period of transition is the perfect space to be grateful for being offered an opportunity to grow your leadership. Each new work situation empowers leaders to demonstrate their accountability and vision. So decide how to document the transition.
- Start journaling to help you see where you started and where you are headed.
- Work with a coach to become more self-aware and clarify your vision.
- Thank everyone who has supported you in your career journey.
What leadership strategies have helped you nail a transition?
Related: Five Leadership Missteps to Ditch