Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Coping successfully with your transition, part of New Manager Fundamentals.
Many people have talked about the loneliness of leadership that can't be avoided, a feeling of being isolated and without support. You can't agree to be a leader if you're not willing to sometimes stand alone. Even in the best team environment, there will be times when the direction the team or the organization needs to go involves making decisions which others will not like. Gaining a promotion into leadership is likely to be one of the most challenging life experiences you will ever endure. Studies have shown that achieving that coveted promotion might be second only to going through a marital divorce in terms of the stress experienced.
It sometimes feels like you're trying to climb a greasy pole and yet no one seems to be helping you. When you are first promoted, it feels momentarily amazing, then, quite suddenly, reality sets in. There is no clear manual on how to start. You are on your own and you might be unsure of what is really expected of you. That's normal when you find yourself in completely new territory. Please know, there are ways you can mitigate these possibilities and successfully make the transition. Consider using several of these effective coping strategies.
Let's start with the most important strategy, seeking support from your network. I'm referring to your family, your peers, and maybe an outside professional mentor; but it's your family that comes first. Whether it is your partner or you parents, let them know about your new responsibilities and the stress that comes with it because the stress will not only affect you it will affect them. Let them know you need their support and understanding. Share your difficulties and concerns with them and embrace that conversation instead of keeping it all bottled up.
Similarly, a small number of peers within the organization will prove valuable as sounding boards. Why? Because they have been exactly where you are now and you have the chance to learn what they've learned about surviving. Finally, further away in the organization or outside the organization altogether, securing a more seasoned mentor to talk with, can provide both stress relief and needed wisdom. Next, be sure to schedule time away from work. After your promotion, you'll feel a huge need to work around the clock as you ramp up your leadership learning curve. Resist that feeling.
If you have vacation time scheduled, strive to keep it and while gone, try not to work. Small bits of time away from the office actually supports clear thinking while on the job. You can also battle stress by getting organized. Look at your workspace, your computer, and your files. Take time to organize all of it early in your new role. You want to feel in control, knowing where things are and that everything has its place can provide a much needed sense of calm.
Finally, it's very important to pay attention to your diet and exercise. I know that our attention to diet and exercise sometimes waxes and wanes. I want to encourage you to make sure your promotion is an occasion for you to step up your game as opposed to using it as an excused to slip further into unhealthy tendencies. Piles of research tell us that a balanced diet and modest exercise combined with adequate sleep are often the very best coping strategies for stress. You are to be sincerely congratulated on your promotion.
It's an honor to join the ranks of leadership. By now, I'm sure you know, it's also a serious responsibility, one that can sometimes be stressful. I'd like to encourage you to consider your leadership journey as a marathon not a sprint. If you'll take one step at a time and remember to use the coping strategies we've just discussed, you'll not only survive your transition, you will grow into a very capable leader.
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- Clarifying performance expectations
- Feeding your learning curve
- Building rapport with your team
- Explaining your decision-making style
- Increasing your authenticity
- Communicating proactively
- Knowing when to have a meeting and who should attend
- Coping successfully with your transition<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.