How To Set The Right Expectations As A New Leader
A short while ago I wrote a piece on how you can succeed as a new leader. In it, I laid out 6 useful tips that’ll help you settle into a new office environment, gel in with your new team and set you on the right path to success. It’s already quite overwhelming to be in the position that you’ve landed in. There are high expectations riding on you, people looking for inspiration, shareholders breathing down your neck looking for progressive steps forward and of course your own leadership brand and reputation that’s in stake. It’s tough, to say the least!
So how do you go about navigating your kick-off? What steps do you take on day one? What goals do you lay for yourself for the first 90 days? Who do you meet in the first week? What do you tackle?
So many questions that demand your attention and time as the new leader. But, where do you begin?
Begin From The End
As odd as it might sound, starting from the end is probably the best way to initiate your journey and experience that’ll be remembered for great achievements. I’m not talking about defining a vision for the organization – that takes time and many strategy meetings to cook up. What I’m talking about is a personal goal that you have in mind at the end of your career.
Forget what you’ve done so far. How you got here, in this leadership position, isn’t important at this stage. Your focus is on how your reign as the leader will end. What will be your legacy remembered by? What will you say during your parting speech? What will be your swansong?
So even before you step into the office and start meeting people, envision how your tenure ends. Picture that large goal and embrace it. What you plan on saying during your parting speech is exactly the goal you will strive for throughout your leadership.
So now that you have a clear picture of the end goal what do you do next? Take a step back and zoom out from that goal to get a macro view of it and all the opportunities that lie ahead and around it. This’ll help you identify the biggest forces and catalysts of change – you could say these are the disruptors that you have in your arsenal. These could be in the form of intellect, capabilities, talent, resources and so on. All of them contribute as catalysts of change and are the drivers of the big, audacious end goal that you have in mind.
Now that you’ve identified your opportunities, zoom into the details of these catalysts and forces and get them right. There are several dangers in skimming over and not getting the details right, so be cautioned not to find the quick and easy way around these. I’m not suggesting that you’re not a detail oriented leader – which I’m sure you are. However, what’s important at this stage is getting the details around the big forces of opportunities and catalysts of change that’ll make all the difference.
Some people advise new leaders to chase a few small wins to get warmed up and settle into their new roles. My advice is the opposite. Set your expectations from your role to chase the big goals (the end goal) and all the small wins will come along the way.
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