Lessons on transitioning into a new leadership role

Lessons on transitioning into a new leadership role

January 27, 2017 by Stella Petrou Concha

Regardless of political opinions, the exit of former President Barack Obama and the inauguration of President Donald Trump will likely go down as one of the biggest shifts in international leadership in decades.

The change got us thinking about how to gracefully transition into new leadership roles. There are certainly a number of things to keep in mind when moving into a new position of power.

How do you handle past policies? When should you start making new moves? How do you conduct yourself during the in-between period? Let’s take a look at some critical ways to ensure a smooth and effective transition.

Leaders shaking hands

How can you help smooth the transition of power as a new executive?

Respect the past – Regardless of whether the leader before you was a star or a ticking time bomb, you need to show some respect for past policies procedures. This doesn’t mean you can’t change them for the better, it just means you need to appreciate the fact that your new team is used to doing things a certain way. Some people may be attached to the old systems and reluctant to let them go – find the balance between understanding their position and effecting change.

Show people that you are excited to get involved in the various layers of the company.

Ask questions .. and then ask some more – While it can be tempting to want to hit the ground running, it is much wiser to treat the beginning of your transition as a learning period. This means asking questions – lots of them. By being inquisitive you will not only learn more about the company as a whole and your intended role but you will show your new staff that you are here to learn as well as lead. Show people that you are excited to get involved in the various layers of the company and make yourself available for any questions they have as well. The more you can create a learning relationship between you and your staff, the better.

Stay true to your leadership style – You weren’t hired based on your ability to emulate past leaders. You were hired because your leaderships skills and approach fit your new company and their long-term vision. While you may learn some things from previous leaders in the organisation , you shouldn’t feel the need to mold your approach to their old ways. Remain authentic and forge your own path.

Can we send you an email?

Join more than 7,000 other smart finance professionals by signing up to our newsletter. You'll get a monthly email with new blog posts,  job news, views, and insider tips. Don’t miss out on this valuable advice!