A leadership transition may initially seem a complex and scary prospect;
but in reality, with the right planning and coaching support, it can turn into
an extremely rewarding and satisfying experience.
You knew you had to say ‘yes’ to the promotion you were offered. You
realise there are loads of variables and interconnectivities to be dealt with. Top
of your list will probably be assessing and understanding the people,
performance and leadership issues. Your aim is to have maximum impact in your
new role in the shortest possible time. Quick wins is a recurring theme for a
leadership transition. You need to understand the new culture, at the same time
remain objectively detached from how things have always been done. You will
have a whole new set of stakeholders to get to know. Who are they? What are
their issues and expectations? Most notable of course is your new boss. The
hiring manager. They have a personal stake in your leadership transition.
You may be moving to a new geographic location and away from your normal
network of contacts and support. You may be taking responsibility for
functional areas you have no previous experienced of yourself. For example,
finance, commercial, HR, etc.
During your transition you will be moving along the leadership pipeline.
For example, from leader of leaders to functional leader or from functional
leader to business leader. With this comes the need to change how you see your
role as a leader (Work Values). To reassess how you allocate your discretionary
time to new and different leadership tasks (Time Application). This will mean
stopping doing some of the leadership tasks that brought you success and made
you a hero in your last job. More of the same is not always what is needed. You
will find yourself delegating leadership tasks that may have been core to your
previous role. And there will be new leader competencies for you to adopt and
deploy (Skills). Welcome to the wonderful world of leadership transition.
Over recent years the majority of my one-to-one work has been coaching
for leadership transition. For the last half of 2018 I had the privilege of
working with James Wroe. I was supporting him in his transition from Head of
Marine Operations North Europe in Rotterdam to Head of Liner Operations Asia
Pacific in Singapore. A functional leader to a business leader role transition.
In this article I ask James to share his leadership transition experience and the role that coaching played. James has offered to write an article later in the year about his experience coaching new direct reports as they complete their leadership transitions.