5 things you should know as a new leader

The 5 things you should know as a new leader

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Well, hellooo there. The newest leader on the block is here!

You’ve swilled the bubbles, celebrated hard and told everyone about your new gig. Now, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and be the leader you were always meant to be.

But what comes next? Is there a secret to great leadership? 

And how is it different to what you’ve been doing for years?

So many questions, such little time! 

That’s why we’ve put together a 5-part podcast series on ‘New Leaders’. It’s all about being a new leader – and it’s going to give you the confidence you need to start making (good) waves in your leadership journey. 

Phoning a friend (who happens to be an expert)

Becoming a leader isn’t always easy. New skills to learn. A different way of thinking. And, in many cases, not enough training to get it right. 

(What’s that, you say? You’re not sure you’re up to task? Frankly, those imposter syndrome vibes can throw shade elsewhere. You’re going to be an excellent leader. If you weren’t feeling wobbly, you wouldn’t be human!)

And we KNOW what the wobbles feel like 😵‍💫 

That’s why we created a  5-part series: ‘New Leaders’. 

We even roped in one of Australia’s top leadership coach, Jon Osborne. He started his career as an engineer (that’s a logical problem-solver right there), then spent 10 years at one of the largest global consultancies. Nowadays, he helps leaders – including new ones – find their way

Today, we’re diving into those first days, weeks and months of being a leader. You’re busy, so we’ve keeping it short and sweet:

Here are the top 5 things you need to know (and you can read in less than 5 minutes ⏳).

1. Leadership vs management (and why they’re different)

Leadership and management are often referred to interchangeably. 

In fact, Jon says the two are more like Russian dolls 🪆: it’s solid leadership that builds an effective manager

According to him, the primary role of management is to effectively coordinate different disciplines to “reliably produce the same thing to the same standard time and time again”. So, it’s about engaging in the right interactions with the right people to achieve something together.

Leadership, on the other hand, is the ability to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute to your organisation’s success. 

Of course, life is a lot greyer than that and responsibilities at work can get blurry. But, understanding those nuances now will position you for success – and more senior leadership roles later on! 

2. Why your expertise is no longer relevant

You’ve got this far in your career because your knowledge, experience and understanding has expanded over time. A subject matter expert, if you will!

As a new leader, that’s changed.

Your role now, says Jon, is to pull all those different people, personalities and skill sets together to produce something. 

Be it an IT rollout, an advertising campaign or a product launch, you’ve got to pop your manager shoes on and ‘dance in the moment’. 

Flexibility, openness and empathy are your friends! Going for hero status and doing everything yourself? Not so much.

Because YES, you can still lead without understanding every little thing your team does. 

A big part of managing is knowing what resources to draw on to ensure you’re across everything – but not stuck in the nitty gritty.

3. Conversation is currency

Ready for a yarn? Your conversations – up, down and across the organisation – are about to matter more than ever. 

“What a leader does today is a result of the conversations they had yesterday,” Jon explains, “and what the organisation produces tomorrow is the result of conversations today.”

Yep, that’s a lot of talking…and listening. And sure, it’s about connecting with your team and those around you – but it’s more than that. It’s making sure you’re ‘at the table’ when those strategic chats are happening so you become part of the narrative. 

How you show up affects how you are perceived. And your team is counting on you to be their voice

4. It’s not about you (and no one cares)

Guess what? Leading is not about you

Leading is about other people

via GIPHY

It’s all about the people in your team – and showing them you’ve got what it takes to lead. 

As Jon says: “If you want to lead, you need to point people somewhere they want to go – and you want to take them”.

Being a good leader is about interacting with others, knowing what they need from you and taking them on that journey.

5. High performing teams: it takes more than talent

Got a super smart team to lead? Lucky you! BUT (there’s always a but), outstanding performance isn’t a given.

Jon’s advice? Make the mindset move now.

“There’s a shift required to think about high-performing teams as more than just skilled individuals,” he tells us.

It’s up to you to give those talented people the right roles, responsibilities and direction. It might take time and confidence to make those calls, but rest assured – it’ll benefit you and your organisation in the long run

Leadership your way

Being a leader comes with its own challenges, expectations and pressures. But there’s nothing wrong with asking for help! No one is ever expected to know everything and, as Jon reminds us: “recognising that asking for help is part of leadership.”

Whether that’s booking in some coaching sessions, finding a great mentor or simply reading up on particular topics, every new leader can work on – and overcome – those gaps.

For more practical info on new leadership and how you can be your best self, check out these podcasts

Well done again on your leap into leadership – you’re going to nail it! 

For even more leadership insights, listen to our new podcast with Jon Osbourne. 

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