How to Succeed as A New Leader 

Congratulations on your new leadership position! I am sure you’ve worked hard and persevered along the way to get to this point.

Everything you’ve done so far in your career has led you to this position. But the experiences and skills that landed you this new job will not be what allows you to succeed.

In fact, you’ll need a new set of skills to continue being successful. You need to adapt the traits and develop the skills that make leaders into great leaders. There are no quick fixes; it takes hard work and the refusal to give up.

As a leadership coach for over three decades, I have groomed some of the top leaders across all industries. I’ve learned there is no real secret to succeeding—it’s just a matter of learning the habits and skills you need.

Here are some powerful things you can do. Use this as a blueprint and revisit it every few weeks to make sure your leadership is moving toward where it needs to be.

Create with style. Identify your own leadership style and make it clear to everyone what you stand for, what’s important to you and what you will not tolerate. Allow others to get to know you—make it personal and inspirational.

Create a template. To make an impact from the start, make sure you know what you will do. Conduct an organizational assessment after obtaining input from all sources, then create a template of the information you receive and make a plan.

Avoid power trips. Now that you’ve earned your place as a leader, it’s easy to let the power get to you. But don’t. Rather than letting your ego get the best of you, treat your new position with respect and work humbly on being able to adapt, transform and do what is right.

Understand the concept behind the company. As a new leader, you need to learn the lay of the land. Become familiar with all aspects of the company so you can see what is working and what is not.

Communicate who you are. Let your colleagues and employees who you are and what you are all about. Let them get to know you so they can follow you. Those who don’t know what you stand for will find it hard to follow your lead.

Trust your new team. When you became a leader, you inherited a team that you may not have even had a hand in selecting. They may not be the dream team you want, but don’t become discouraged. Give them a chance to align with you and start building trust.

Generate your own vision. Craft your vision and use diversified communication vehicles, including email, memos, video conferences, and face-to-face meetings, to articulate it effectively. Let people know that you have great ideas and aspirations and you plan on making them happen.

Identify your priorities. Show others what’s most important to you by identifying the priority areas to improve the bottom line. Create an action plan, dividing the areas into short- and long-term goals. Let people know you are here to get things done.

Manage all stakeholders. Most leaders think they have no time for this, but it’s so important—you need to meet all stakeholders to hear firsthand their expectations and aspirations. Travel or use electronic conferencing to connect with those who are far away. Connecting with stakeholders is as important as any other task you will do.

Listen more than you speak. Speak less, listen more—get input on the major changes that need to happen and then work to improve the organization’s effectiveness and bottom line.

Communicate with candor. In every communication—public or private, with people at every level of the organization and outside—be open, transparent and forthcoming.

Devise a new strategy. Don’t make the mistake of following the strategy of your predecessor. It may (or may not) have worked for them, but you were hired to bring your own ideas to bear.

Create a winning formula. Create a winning formula based on your recreated vision and show how the organization can succeed with your plan. Seek early wins from the very beginning so you can build momentum.

Identify roles and responsibilities. Make sure everyone is rightly placed with their roles and responsibilities to leverage their strengths. At times, good employees are wrongly placed in the organization. Spot and place them properly.

Encourage creativity and innovation. Encourage innovative ideas among employees and reward them for their efforts.

Provide feedback. You gain credibility when you give input to your employees regularly. Guide, coach and inspire them daily.

Align and eliminate. After you have given them time to align and a chance to grow and develop, consider eliminating those who aren’t on board with your ideas. Sometimes part of making sure you have the right people on the bus is making sure the wrong people get off.

Stay open to learning. Every great leader knows that to have a continuing impact and a great legacy you need to keep learning. Self-improvement is a lifelong journey, and success as a leader and as an individual requires constant learning. Treat your education as a process, not a race with an end point.

Remember, it’s always about others. It’s not about your achievements, your goals, your ambitions or your success as a leader. Everything you’ve done and earned for yourself is now your goal for your team. It’s about recognizing their efforts and contributions, rewarding them for positive behavior and helping them succeed.

Think of your legacy. Ask yourself how you want to be remembered at the end of your time with the organization. Then work backward, building upon your vision of your legacy daily.

Lead from within: The new leader is one who commits people to action, who converts followers into leaders, and who may convert leaders into agents of change.


Learn more about leadership in my National Bestseller book:
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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