8 Expectations that a First Time leader must live up to.

8 Expectations that a First Time leader must live up to. 

Regardless of whether you are new to leadership as a first time leader, or you are a season veteran leader, there are always expectations to leadership. Some of those expectations are self induced by the leader, while other come from the team. The key is in knowing which expectations are the ones that a first-time leader must live up to .   

These expectations are not typically covered in training workshops. Yet because successful leaders are aware of these expectations, they live up to them and continue to lead teams to greatness.  

I decided to ask around the Leadership community, and got quite a bit of responses from seasoned veterans.  

Here are 8 expectations that a first time leader, must live up to. 

1 – It’s not about me. It’s all about them – AS 

1 – It’s not about me. It’s all about them – AS 

Leadership is not about you, the first time leader, the person that the organisation has promoted into a formally appointed position where you now officially lead a team. It might feel flattering to be validated by the organisation and deemed suitable to ‘lead’. Ultimately thought, being a leader is about serving the people. Your team expects you to be there, supporting them in anyway possible.

2 – It’s all about the people – AT 

2 – It’s all about the people – AT 

You might be thinking that you are only accountable for the results of your team, but your impact as a leader can be to anyone you or your team interacts with. As a leader, you are there to ensure that your team produces the desired results, and you play an essential role in creating the optimal conditions for them to do that. That condition is created when you regularly check in on them, ensure they have all the resources that they need, and to guide them to overcome challenges to produce the desired results.

3 – Helping where they can with guidance, but not doing the work for their team – LM    

3 – Helping where they can with guidance, but not doing the work for their team – LM 

When you are new to leadership, it is tempting to stick to the familiar aspects of what the work that your team does. After all, it was your technical competences that got you your promotion. However it is a fallacy to think that way. Your team is there to do the work, and you don’t have to be a functional expert in what they do. As the leader, you still need to have an understanding of what your team does, so you can position yourself to provide guidance, perspectives, or draw from your past experiences to guide your team. 

4 – Authenticity and Transparency – EC 

4 – Authenticity and Transparency – EC 

Do you prefer to work with people that you like? If you do, so does your team. It is much easier to like someone when they are authentic and transparent consistently over time. Examples would be your thoughts about a particular subject, insights into why you said what you said.’, or even revealing the rationale behind a decision. Your team would like to at least have a sense of you are as a person. It does not mean you become an open book, or their best friend. Rather, it is what is relevant for your team.  

5 – Make mistakes, own up, and learn from it. We are all human, we can make mistakes. – LM 

5 – Make mistakes, own up, and learn from it. We are all human, we can make mistakes. – LM 

When you are new to leadership, there may be this false expectation that you need to be the fount of knowledge and have all the answers. That is not the case. You are human. You will make mistakes. Owning up to that mistake, and showing that you learn from it is not only a sign of self-confidence, it is also fantastic role modelling for your team. Can’t expect your team to own up and learn from their own mistakes if you are not doing the same, right?  

6 – Having a clear vision that they regularly share with their team so they can eventually take responsibility for it. – EC and MT 

6 – Having a clear vision that they regularly share with their team so they can eventually take responsibility for it. – EC and MT 

If you want to supercharge your team and bring them to a high performance state, then you need to have a vision for your team. It is not the earth shattering, organisation shaking grand vision that you might be thinking about. More of how your team, and each team member, fits into the larger picture of the department or business unit. Having that vision gives the team a better sense of their purpose of their work. It also reminds them that they are not just corks in giant wheel, but essential parts of a larger machinery. 

7 – Be a leader willing to conquer the unknown – AT (Another ‘AT’). 

7 – Be a leader willing to conquer the unknown – AT (Another ‘AT’). 

Every now and then, something unexpected happens at work. You may not have an answer immediate, however, your team is looking to you to lead them on figuring out a path forward. That means learning about the situation and coming up with an answer, either by yourself, or by soliciting inputs from others. The plan that is eventually put forth, by you or by your team, don’t not have to be perfect. But it is a plan, and your team is looking at you to lead them into the unknown.   

8 – One should also encourage those they teach and guide to one day be better than you. Shows you inspired and helped someone take their skills and grow with them – SKH 

8 – One should also encourage those they teach and guide to one day be better than you. Shows you inspired and helped someone take their skills and grow with them – SKH 

Nobody wants to finish up working for a leader only to look back and feel that they had not learned anything during their time. One of your jobs as a leader is to grow other leaders, so that they can take on bigger roles, freeing you up to pursue other ventures. If you are indispensable, then you cannot move from where you are. Also, if you want a high performing team, then you have to keep develop them to their fuller potential.  

So that’s it. 8 expectations that a first time or veteran leader must live up to. Are there others that you feel are essential and should be on the list?  

Leave your comment below.

Daniel Lee
June 22, 2021 | 829 views
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