Maybe it’s happened to you. Maybe you’ve seen it happen to someone else.
The leader who is unstoppable. The leader who is on the “fast track.” The leader who surpasses every goal and target with ease…and then is promoted into a larger role, only to struggle mightily with mobilizing a larger team.
What happened? And what can you do to set yourself up for success?
The transition from leading a small team to leading a larger team can be tricky. Often, the exact behaviors that led to success with a small team are the exact behaviors that won’t work with a larger team.
3 pitfalls to avoid, and some tips to help you are:
PITFALL 1: Continuing to reference anecdotes that leave new team members out.
TIP 1: Of course you should reference relevant examples and these likely will come from your past experiences. However, your new role offers you the opportunity to have valuable new experiences with your new team members. Make an effort to create fresh narratives. This will help create a greater sense of community and increase engagement.
PITFALL 2: Spending most of your time with the people who you already know well instead of new team members.
TIP 2: It’s easy to be around people you enjoy working with. And you certainly don’t want to lose the strong bonds you already have. However, it’s probable that the results your new role requires you to deliver won’t happen without the mobilization of a larger group of people – and there’s no better way to get strong forward momentum than through building trust with your new team members. Take the time to build authentic relationships and you will reap the rewards.
PITFALL 3: Assuming new team members should and can emulate your previous team’s behavioral norms.
TIP 3: You may not even be aware of what norms your old team had and it’s likely that these norms have helped you move pretty quickly in the past. Pausing to consciously consider how your team should operate given what it has deliver, where people are located, timelines, resource constraints, etc. is invaluable. Even better, take the time to develop these new operating norms with your team (an external facilitator may help). Moving a little slowly at the start will pay off in long run.
You may also consider working with an executive coach who can be your confidential thought partner as you think about how you can take your leadership to the next level (for tips on how to select an executive coach, click here).
Cheers to your leadership success!
HR Strategy | Executive Coach | Leadership Development
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Swati Bharteey-Buck is a Principal at LeaderStages, a firm focused on human resources strategy, executive coaching, and leadership development programs. Swati has over 25 years of experience in connecting company strategy and people strategy, simplifying it so people can understand it, and in executing programs in complex business environments. Swati has held executive level positions at globally recognized companies such as Deloitte and The William Wrigley Jr., Company and has an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, The Booth School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.