Written by Joanne Sacco

3 challenges every new leader faces & how to overcome them

You’ve been working towards the step up from team member to team leader for years. Now you’ve made it, there are exciting times ahead. But as you make the transition from peer to leader, it’s inevitable there will be a few challenges along the way. Here are three of the most common plus a few tips to help you overcome them.

The move from colleague to leader

Many first-time leaders are promoted from within their own team. This presents a unique challenge – just how do you get team members to see you as their leader, not their colleague?
It doesn’t happen quickly. It takes time for your staff to adjust to your new role. To help them along, address the issue head-on. Explain that while you’re now leading the team, you’re still part of the team. You still value and encourage feedback and collaboration.
A second tip is to spend some time reflecting on your prior experience as a team member. What worked well? What got your fellow colleagues cringing or fired up? Use this intel to tweak how you lead.

Communicating effectively

 Successful teams communicate well. It’s a fact. As a former team member, it’s likely you’ve only had experience communicating directly with your boss and colleagues. You didn’t have to worry too much about nurturing relationships or thinking about the different core personalities in your team and how best to communicate with each one. Now you do.
You’ll also need to work on upping your active listening skills. You’ll want to ensure your team feel like they’ve been both heard and understood.
Some tips:

  • Pay attention to your body language when listening. Are you giving off positive signals (ie no slumped shoulders, crossed arms or excessive fidgeting)?
  • Ask clarifying questions
  • Summarise & reflect back
  • Don’t interrupt or ‘sentence steal’

Dealing with failure

 All good leaders fail at some time. And when you do, how you deal with it is key.
When you get knocked down, use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Do a post-mortem and critically evaluate where you went wrong – both from an individual and team perspective – and what you can do better in the future.
Many first-time leaders also feel the need to get it all done by themselves to prove they’re worthy of their new leadership position. But asking for help can actually increase your productivity and overall effectiveness. It may even circumnavigate some failure along the way!
These are but three challenges almost all new leaders face. A few more can be found in our blogs articles about getting your tech talent ready for the talent crunch or some essentials for unlocking digital transformation.
Should you need assistance on the recruitment front (another very common leadership challenge), we’d love to help. With over 20 years’ experience in the tech recruitment game, feel free to ask us for help and streamline the process for you.

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