Making the Transition from Follower to Leader

Do you know someone who is transitioning into a leadership role for the first time? Perhaps these tips would be helpful for them… If you are a new leader, take up opportunities to spend time with people who are established in similar roles to yourself.  This can be a great professional development opportunity, where you can discuss your challenges and hear how others have coped in similar situations. A key to successfully making the transition into leadership is setting good boundaries.

To successfully set leadership boundaries:
  • Be fair, and be seen to be fair. Avoid setting precedents which encourage people to expect special treatment.
  • You can still socialise with your team. It is important to set clear boundaries between ‘work life’ and ‘personal life’. When socialising, aim not to discuss work. In particular, never criticise senior management, other managers or team members.
  • Never let personal likes and dislikes affect your management decisions or behaviour.
  • Be prepared to say ‘no’ when needed. Ensure your communications are clear. If you mean ‘no’, say ‘no’. Avoid using “I’ll see what I can do.”
  • Foster respect by modelling respect. Respect others' space, opinions and personalities. Be seen to respect management.
  • Challenge unacceptable behaviour. Some managers go along with inappropriate behaviour (e.g. offensive language) out of a belief they will be more popular that way. As a leader, it is your job to model the organisation’s values. You will gain more credibility with your team by challenging inappropriate behaviour than by trying to fit in.
  • Emphasise which angle or “hat” you are using when you’re having a conversation   - e.g. “I’m speaking to you “with my manager’s hat on”.  Or “I’m now saying this as a mate who has known you for xx years”
1. If you are in transition what are you learning?
2. Who can be a good support to you as a mentor or coach at this time?
3. What leadership boundaries from the above list do you need to put in place?


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