Three Tips for New Leaders

Much has been written about the difference between management and leadership. There certainly is uniqueness between the two, and also a fair amount of overlap. At Benefitfocus we have an in-depth Manager Development and Certification Program consisting of coursework, ongoing training and certification levels. We also offer a series of leadership development activities. I enjoy exploring both management and leadership topics. I find it helpful to understand the differences and the interdependencies.

If you have recently taken on a new role with leadership responsibilities, here are a few tips to help you be successful:

  1. Be authentic. When you take on a new role, there is a natural period of discomfort. It is like putting on a new jacket. You have to get used to it a bit. Be aware of the impact the newness is having on you and consciously work so this new role doesn’t make you act like someone you’re not. Your core values, your personality and your ideals should all flow with you into your new role and help lead you through your transition. Too often people seem to think a new role requires that they evolve themselves into another person. On the contrary, you earned the role based on who you are, don't stop being yourself now.
  2. Play with emotion. Similarly, new positions seem to make people think they need to be more serious. Bring your passion to your new leadership role. Show your emotion, in a healthy way. People are now following your lead, let them know it is okay to laugh and cry. Encourage your team by using your heart. Share with your team how you feel as well as how you think.
  3. Don't take yourself too seriously. When you have a lot of success the recognition will follow. Don't grasp for acknowledgment or put on a false air of success before you have the evidence to back it up. And even then keep a balanced view. You want to be proud of your accomplishments and your team. But keep your eyes set on what is out in front of you. Focus on where you want to take your team, not on the fanfare that follows.

Be encouraged in pursuing leadership positions. You can do a lot of good by leading a team. Your vision of a bright tomorrow can inspire others and be exactly what they need to accomplish their dreams.