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The Professional's Way to Gain Trust and Respect As A New Boss

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Moving up to a leadership position is both thrilling and challenging. It’s not just about getting a new job title but also changing how you work with people who were once your equals. This shift is a common obstacle for those climbing the corporate ladder, as they must transform old peer-to-peer relationships into a new structure where they are in charge.

Navigating this new terrain requires more than just authority; it demands a strategic approach to earn trust and respect.

To address this, I advocate a five-step framework encapsulated by the acronym
CLOUT. It is designed to guide you through recalibrating relationships and steering your team towards shared success.

C: Communicate the Transition

It's vital to clearly convey the change in your role to your team as you step into your new leadership position. It marks the beginning of reshaping your working relationships.

In many organizations, this formalization process is already in place. It could be an announcement from the human resources department, a message from senior leadership, or a declaration from your direct manager. This formalization serves to articulate your new position and the change in dynamics that comes with it.

However, if your company doesn't have a set process, it's your responsibility to inform your direct reports about the transition. But how do you do this without appearing to be there to overhaul everything or to lord over them?

The key lies in your approach. Communicate in a way that shows you are still on their side, supporting them for success. This is not about asserting dominance but about fostering a supportive environment. Share your leadership plan and vision to alleviate concerns and uncertainties. Remember, communication is not a one-time event but a continuous process. Persistently tune your message to people’s personal motivators and professional perspectives.

L: Listen to Their Values

When you become a leader, it's crucial to understand what your team cares about.

This is the part where individual meetings are important, but these meetings should be about them, not you. The goal is to use curiosity-driven questions to uncover their top priorities, individual values, and career aspirations. This helps align their values with the team’s and the company’s values.

Listening is not just about hearing their words but understanding the meaning behind them. It's about showing empathy and acknowledging the potential awkwardness of the transition. Show empathy and acknowledge the potential awkwardness of the transition. Recognize the adjustment period to demonstrate you are attuned to their needs. This also allows you to understand their motivations and aspirations, aiding in effective leadership.

O: Officiate a Collaborative Cadence

Having listened to their values, it's now time to demonstrate that you are here to set them up for success. You understand their priorities, values, and career aspirations. Now, you can connect the dots and articulate how you plan to help them succeed. This sets the foundation for a collaborative cadence.

A collaborative cadence is about establishing a rhythm of collaboration with your team. It's about setting up regular, predictable meetings - every Monday morning, every third Friday afternoon, or every quarter's midpoint. These meetings provide a platform for communication, support, and discussing challenges.

This cadence also creates opportunities for celebrating learning from failures and fostering transparency. Everyone on the team knows their responsibilities and yours as a leader. A crucial part of this is asking for feedback on your leadership. If you want to give feedback, you must first be open to receiving it. By asking for feedback and responding to it, you create a culture of transparency and vulnerability, making it easier to provide constructive feedback when necessary.

U: Uphold a Culture of Performance

Establish a culture where everyone is responsible for their outcomes and expected results. To uphold this, focus on three key ingredients: Outcomes, Metrics, and Accountability (OMA).

Outcomes refer to clear targets and objectives expected at every level. Clarify these objectives for your direct reports, setting clear expectations for the future and linking them to the present.

Metrics are key dashboards and measurements that allow you and your direct reports to track progress toward these goals. Metrics provide an objective way to determine if objectives and milestones are achieved.

Accountability is about knowing who is responsible for each outcome, task, or milestone. Transparency is crucial, so everyone on the team, including you, knows what everyone else is accountable for.

Upholding a culture of performance revolves around having routines and processes around these three elements - Outcomes, Metrics, and Accountability. This ensures your team is performance-oriented, transparent, and accountable, setting the stage for success.

T: Tend to Your New Relationships

After establishing a collaborative cadence, communicating your vision, and aligning team values with the company’s mission, focus on nurturing new relationships.

As a new leader, build meaningful relationships with new peers, managers, and executive leaders. These relationships are essential for forming alliances that support your leadership journey and contribute to your success.

It’s easy to focus on managing your team and forget to build relationships with colleagues and superiors. These individuals, who were once removed from you, are now directly above you in the organizational hierarchy. By tending to these relationships, you enhance your network of support and leadership effectiveness.

Transitioning from a peer to a leader within your organization is a complex process that requires strategic planning and execution.

CLOUT framework provides a comprehensive guide to navigate this transition effectively. Each step contributes to a holistic approach ensuring a smooth transition and a productive, harmonious work environment.

As a new leader, your role extends beyond managing your team; it involves building relationships with new peers and superiors, aligning individual and team values with the company's mission, and fostering a culture of performance and accountability. By following this framework, you can successfully manage your former peers after a promotion, leading your team towards shared success.

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© Mastery Insights Inc. All Rights Reserved