Leading doesn’t always come naturally, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be a natural at taking your business to the top.
“I became a leader by accident, not design, and I certainly wasn’t born into it,” says Jane Raphaely, chairperson at Associated Media Publishing.
Today, it’s hard to tell whether the woman at the helm of the publishing powerhouse has made a success of her career by default or design. While the pressure of taking on a leadership position can be a stressful, it also provides an opportunity for you to prove yourself and showcase your talents and abilities.
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Being a good manager can be a challenge at the best of times, and to succeed in this position, you must realise that your success is directly dependent on the success of your team,” says Kay Vittee, CEO of Kelly. To have confidence in your team, you need to first have confidence in yourself.
The initial excitement of taking on a leadership position shouldn’t eclipse the fair share of overwhelming responsibility that is part and parcel of the role. Here are a few truths to consider about leading your business to success:
1. It’s not a comfortable place to be
Instant pressure isn’t easy to deal with when transitioning into a leadership position. “During this time, the leader could potentially find themselves in a very uncomfortable position, battling to build relationships with the right people, and failing to fully understand what their new role entails,” Kay Vittee, CEO of Kelly, explains. “The best leaders know that their success or failure depends on their ability to inspire, guide and harness relationships both internally and outside the organisation.”
So, if your transition isn’t in an upward trajectory from day one, your future in a leadership role could certainly appear bleak as you find your feet. The trick is to persevere and grow in your discomfort.
2. Time management is key
Juggling multiple responsibilities requires a sound game plan. You cannot be everything to everyone all the time. “One of the most important time management tools you will need to learn is to make sure you put enough time aside to think about your business,” says Meredith Harington. “A leader whose days are taken up with meeting after meeting loses the ability to step back and look at the big picture.”
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Struggling to give up control? Remember that communication is a cornerstone of successful business and successful leadership. Start by encouraging clear status updates and expectations on projects. And most importantly, trust the team you’ve put in place – then you won’t have to do so much on your own.
3. Micromanagement is counterproductive
How do you show your staff you trust them? As frightening as it may initially sound, give them more responsibility. “Give them the chance to shine,” adds Harington.
“By doing so, you will not only improve confidence in their individual abilities, but you will also have a bird’s eye view to establish if everyone on the team is doing their part, and not merely relying on the efforts of others.”
The more your team has to do, the more they will prove themselves and the more comfortable you will be with getting on with what you need to be doing – leading your business and not running it.
You were put into a leadership role for a reason. Keep yourself in the loop of the business’ problems, familiarise yourself with them and prepare a thorough plan of action to deal with them. To have confidence in your team, you need to first have confidence in yourself.