Many newly promoted leaders fail because they don't do these 5 things! This is how you can make an instant impact at your new grade.
So you've been promoted? First off, WELL DONE! For many of you this is likely to have been a long and arduous journey finally get the deserved reward for your consistently excellent performance.
But now you're at another level, another grade - and as such you'll need to perform. So here are 5 tips for what to do now you've secured that grade promotion.
This might be a hard one. After all, to get promoted you've probably been operating at 100 miles an hour, making an impact, smashing out the deliveries, and giving those promotion decision makers no opportunity to NOT give a promotion! It's all about impact and speed isn't it?
Well not right now it isn't. You're a race-car driver who's just left the smooth track and is now off-road. There are new bumps in the road, potholes and other hazard that you weren't previously experiencing. And you won't necessarily get any indication of the new challenges you'll be facing until you're right in the middle of them!
So as much as you’re wanting to keep your pace up, take some time to take your foot off the gas and take a good look around at your surroundings. Things will be very different, and you won't necessarily notice unless you take the time to slow down and absorb your new surroundings!
If you don't, then you won't see that cliff edge that you're hurtling towards….
Getting promoted is EXCITING! In fact it's one of the most exciting things that can happen to you in your career. Promotions don't happen often, and when they do they are to be enjoyed and celebrated!
But you also have to remember that you're in competition with people. People that are likely to be pivotal to your future success at your new level. Remember that many of the people you're still working with might have had their eyes on that promotion that you were lucky enough to get! Maybe you just beat a close colleague to the award, or got the benefit of the doubt that wasn't afforded to someone else? Who knows.
So it's probably not a good idea to go around waving your new role in everyone's face.
They'll know, and others will find out eventually. But many people will be watching, including the management that awarded you the new grade in the first place! There will be a lot of eyes watching how you handle being awarded this prestigious promotion. I've seen people instantly put themselves on the back foot, by showing an arrogant, self-important mindset - seemingly having the promotion go right to their heads. And that really doesn't go down well, especially with those that might have been in the running for the promotion as well. Act like that, and they're not going to help you very much in your new role!
Alternatively, accepting a new role with humility, grace and an understanding that YOU have been given something that many others are seeking can really show that level of emotional intelligence and maturity that is regularly seen amongst senior leaders.
You might want to jump up and down. You might want to run laps of your office naked. What? You don't? Just me then…. But resist the temptation as much as you can. Keep the fist pumps for when you get home!
Getting promoted is a thrill. And you've probably been operating at that more advanced level for some time anyway. That's generally how promotions work. So you'll be super-keen to show what you're made of to your new colleagues, management and stakeholders.
But this can be a fatal mistake. Regardless of the level you're operating at, there's one thing that scares people, and that's change. Change is the biggest challenge for many, and as such needs very careful management. Having you as a newly promoted upstart trying to turn an established world upside down with your bright ideas isn't going to make many friends. Not at the start, anyway!
I've seen newly promoted people come flying out of the gates with a ton of (often great) ideas. But what that tends to do is put people on the back foot and can alarm or scare people who have spent a long time getting that team to where it is now. Even if their ideas are great, opening the floodgates when at a new level can be a mistake. It's good to change things, and even better to show people you've got creativity and ideas that can make a difference. But release your ideas slowly, over time, when you've got comfortable with your new colleagues and crucially, when they are comfortable with you.
Having said that, now that you're operating at this new level, in these new environments, you'll see many opportunities for simple, effective and easy improvements that won't get people's back up or raise any red flags. These are the easy wins that newly promoted people are crying out for. These are the free hits, the open goals. Make sure that you spot them, and execute. That way you'll be seem as someone that can make a difference immediately, but without uprooting everything!
This is one I don't see people doing enough. And it can be REALLY helpful for new promotees. As part of you getting promoted, you and your manager will have had to have built a case for the promotion review board or whatever your company process is. And that case will undoubtedly include testimonials from key supporters. They might be colleagues, clients, stakeholders, peers or other respected people in your organisation.
And you'll likely know most of them. But there will be some that you don't know, or that you weren't aware were supporters of your promotion. Maybe your own boss has used their network to get other influencers onside and supportive of your promotion?
So it's a very good idea to ensure that you know exactly who has offered a testimonial of support, and exactly what they've said about you. Because this is a superb opportunity to double down on the relationships with those supporters that you know well, and start a positive relationship with the people that you don't know. And because you'll know what they like about you, you'll be able to give them even more of that good stuff! Maybe they love your on-time delivery - if so, make it even better. Maybe they appreciate your timely updates? Again, make them even more robust.
These testimonials are vitally important pockets of POWER FEEDBACK. And these senior supporters will likely be there when you get your next promotion, so it's key to maintain and even improve their level of engagement and support as your career progresses. So don't just move on - double down on these relationships!
It's often said that keeping a focus on continuous self-learning is a vital skill for anyone who wants to have a successful and vibrant career. And that's most certainly true, but even more so when you've taken a step up in your career.
Focusing on upskilling isn't just a nice to have here, it's an absolute necessity. Your job will likely have changed a fair bit and as a more advanced leader, you'll gave a ton of new roles and things that you'll be expected to do. And many of then will be things that you won't ever have done before, so you'll sometimes feel like you're starting from scratch.
But leaders that get promoted and then dive into their duty of learning how to operate at that new role are the ones that hit the ground running and not only establish themselves at their new grade, but then start competing to go even higher in their organisations. And the ones that don't learn, well they flounder and struggle and get eaten alive by the increased demands and expectations at their new level.
And it's not easy to be a self-learner. It takes a lot of skill and dedication to embed learning into your daily life. But getting self-learning right can be the superpower that sets you apart from the others in your organisation.
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