10 side effects of being a First Time leader.

10 side effects of being a First Time leader.

A side effect is an unwanted negative symptom.  

Often you keep your eyes on the prize of being promoted to be a First Time Leader. Seldom are there any thoughts to the side effects of being one. Regardless, I felt it was important to let you know what you are getting yourself into with that promotion. Here are 10 side effects for you to consider when getting that promotion.  

1. Leadership is a lonely journey.  

1. Leadership is a lonely journey.  

As the leader of a team, there are expectations of leadership that you must live up to. While you may admit your general concerns, there is definitely no sharing of your deepest fears with your team. Doing so will destroy their confidence in you, and question if you have it together.  

There is truly no one you can confide in to spill your darkest, deepest leadership worries in your immediate circle. That is why successful leaders have mentors or coaches.  

2. Your new peers may see you as a threat. 

2. Your new peers may see you as a threat. 

You won the race to become a First Time Leader. Guess what?  You simply moved from one race to another. Now your new peers, who are leaders of their own team, will see you as a threat. Why? You guess it. There can be only one formal leader at the next level too. One big difference now is that you need to level up in your ability to lead and deliver results through others, because the competition for your next promotion will be more intense.  

3. Dealing with the past traumas and preconceived notions of leadership from your team. 

3. Dealing with the past traumas and preconceived notions of leadership from your team. 

Anyone who has worked for others will be traumatised by terrible management experiences. These traumas shape us on the type of manager who we want to ideally work for. At the same time everyone has their own pre-conceived notion of what a leader should be. So how, as a First Time Leader, do you exactly manage those two? The best way is to lead authentically so you can quickly let others know the how you lead. 

4. Stress of taking it all on your own. 

4. Stress of taking it all on your own. 

Highly motivated by their promotion, many First Time Leaders fall into a thinking that they should be super-employees trying to solve every problem, and coming up with all the ideas. Some do so because they do not know how to effectively delegate. Others feel insecure in the inside and are uncomfortable with getting others to do work. Yet, there are those who focus too much on looking after their team, and not enough on themselves.  

What these First Time Leaders do not realise is that the stress of trying to do everything gets to them eventually. When they stumble, it has a negative effect on their team. 

5. Your bad days as a leader will affect your team or even your organisation. 

5.Your bad days as a leader will affect your team or even your organisation. 

When you were an individual contributor, a bad day at work might be a negative feedback from your immediate manager, or a generally unproductive day. The good thing is that your bad day is mostly confined to your work.  

As a leader of a team, a bad day could affect your entire team. Sometimes an inappropriate word, an untimely decision, or a lack of action can negatively your entire team.  

6. It is a full time job ensuring team success. 

6. It is a full time job ensuring team success. 

Imagine that as a team leader, your operational responsibilities are almost a full time job. Then add your leadership responsibilities on top of that. That is one reason why many Leaders cite not having the time to actually lead.  

7. You have to keep improving as a leader. There is no stopping. 

7. You have to keep improving as a leader. There is no stopping. 

Remember I mentioned earlier that you need to level up in your ability to lead and deliver results through others, because the competition with your new peers for your next promotion will be more intense?  

Your peers are also improving themselves. So in-between your ‘full time’ jobs of your operational responsibilities and leading others, you need to look after your own professional development.  

No wonder so many do not make it past their first promotion. There is simply not time left for anything else.

8. Forgetting that being a leader is being a person, not a position. 

8. Forgetting that being a leader is being a person, not a position. 

We spend so much time at work, we fall into the trap of seeing ourselves as a ‘manager / supervisor / leader / (insert position title)’. Ever noticed that some managers behave different in or out of work? Some of us approach leading others as a job, and only stop when we leave work.  

Being a leader is about being a person, and leadership is a way of life. There is no changing of behaviour or personality in or out of work.  

9. Being watched by anyone, and by everyone. 

9. Being watched by anyone, and by everyone. 

You are in the spotlight all the time, and not in a ‘taking all the credit’ kind of a way. What I mean is that anyone could be assessing, judging your words, actions, and decisions, and forming an opinion of you and your leadership all the time.  

Are you leading well? Did you say the right things? Call for the appropriate actions? Make the appropriate decision? Did you crack under pressure? Are you authentic with everyone?  

All these things will affect your reputation as a leader. How? All it takes is one comment by someone to another, and once that comment is accepted, your reputation is set, whether you like it or not.

10. A juggle between looking after yourself and everyone else. 

10. A juggle between looking after yourself and everyone else.

As I mentioned earlier, leadership on its own is a full time job, and you naturally will have to work longer and harder than your team. There are greater demands on you mentally and physically. A lot of your leadership depends on your capability and ability to think and execute well almost all the time. If you are not adequately looking after yourself, then how will you be able to adequately lead others? 

Final thoughts.

Hopefully this blog has given you some food for thought on the underbelly of being a First-Time Leader. Too often we focus on, and idealise the glory of leading others, and fail to see the guts of it all. By being aware of these 10 sides effects of being a First Time Leader, you will be able to go into that leadership position with both eyes wide open, and more prepared than ever. 

Daniel Lee
October 4, 2021 | 767 views
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