On Transitioning to a Leadership Role

When the nature of your job changes, from individual contributor to “leader,” you very likely experience a deer-in-the-headlights moment.

This is unsurprising.

If you’re like most, the habits and skills that led to your expanded responsibilities are insufficient for the challenges of the new managerial role. You’re in a new world and no doubt, feeling both excited and anxious.

Your success in this transition will very much depend on how you engage with both of these emotions.

Let’s start with the feeling of anxiety: what’s that all about?

Your body constructs a feeling of anxiety to make meaning of your new circumstances. It’s an alert, carrying invaluable information, to help you select the most efficacious actions. While we may want to push away this anxiety (it’s uncomfortable), paying attention and exploring it is an essential step in your growth as a leader.

Very likely, this feeling is alerting you to the need for leadership development and growth. And while you may perceive this need as a sign of weakness and the likely need for support, I would encourage you to turn that perspective upside down: you now have the opportunity to grow professionally and personally. And remember, leadership is developed and nurtured.

And what about your feeling of excitement? This too represents a great opportunity to translate into an authentic positive presence with your new team. An effective leader shows up as themselves, with a positive presence, projecting authentic confidence, without wishing away and ignoring challenges, disappointments or personal hardship. You can channel these feelings into an essential leadership skill.

Transitioning to a leadership role is exciting and sometime uncomfortable. Getting support from a leadership coach can make all the difference in your success.

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