When we start out in our career, I guess most of us want to get on and go as far as they can. In most cases that means climbing the career ladder.
Some make that transition with ease but an awful lot of people seem to find it a struggle when they move into a formal leadership role.
Maybe in some ways that is not all that surprising.
People usually do really well in their field because they have built up the skills, experience, knowledge and attributes. Chances are they have had a lot of exposure to a lot of challenges in their field of work and learned along the way.
Now in a formal leadership role it all changes.
The stakes are higher for a start. If you make a mistake in your area of expertise, it might be embarrassing. You might even get a bit of negative feedback for a time. On the other hand it quickly blows over.
In a leadership role the consequences for you and the organisation are much more significant. This can result in people who have built who had a reputation for getting things done, actually procrastinating excessively and even avoiding difficult decisions.
Another big difference is that your role changes dramatically. You have to become the person who inspires, facilitates, supports and encourages rather than the individual who does it all themselves.
Letting go of things relies on you showing a lot of trust. Things are also out of your control to some extent.
It can feel hugely uncomfortable.
So is there things you can do to make this transition easier?
I personally believe there is.
One of the most important is to promote yourself. In other words make the shift in mindset from the person who does it all to the person who facilitates and enables delivery of results.
Accept it is going to be tough. Your performance not to mention your confidence may well take a hit in the short term.
Get some help. There are plenty of people who have made the transition you are now making. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Cut yourself some slack. Any big change is going to provide challenges. Don’t beat yourself up if you are finding it tough.
Duncan Brodie helps professionals make the step into leadership.
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.