In last week’s blog, we met "Jen," a highly motivated member of your team who you are considering as your next Operations Director. Jen moves mountains to get the work done. You trust her implicitly. She seems like a perfect choice to step into a leadership role, right Jen’s success is etched in her knowledge and expertise. She is a producer. It's what she knows, and what she knows really well. However, leadership is not just about knowledge and expertise. Leadership is about the ability to think out-of-the-box, see options, create different paths to success, and engage teams. It is important to point out these leadership characteristics to Jen and tell her what you will need from her in a leadership role. There is tremendous value in leaders who are knowledgeable, even “home grown,” as such. However, when shifting key team members from “doing” to “leading,” the transition is often surprisingly bumpy. In Jen’s case, she will face different expectations from her team and from you. Jen will need help to navigate the subtle changes in culture, as well as the more significant changes in processes. Jen will need to let go of her tried-and-true knowledge and expertise to make room for an entirely new leadership skill set. This is not easy, and it takes time.
Here are 3 ways to get Jen started in the right direction:
Find a professional coach for Jen. You need to focus on leading the business, finding new customers, and implementing high level strategy. If you step into the role of Jen’s day-to-day advisor, you could be putting your business at risk for slower growth. But you can hire a coach for Jen. The 1:1 coaching relationship spurs action and accountability for new leaders at a much faster rate.
Find a mentor for Jen. Consider the other senior leaders in the organization who could step-into a mentoring role. Jen needs room to grow, and working with a trusted mentor is an ideal opportunity to gain business insight, leadership insight, and carve a path to a successful leadership career.
Create a transition plan for Jen. Treat Jen like you would any new leader coming into the organization. Create milestones for her and encourage her to problem solve, ask questions, and second-guess her nature to jump in and get the work done herself. She is a leader now, not a doer.
Need some help putting this strategy together? Want to make sure you have it right so your “Jen” excels at her new role? I can help you. Give me a call and let’s talk.
Click here and read how "Jen's" story began.