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Taking the Leap from Team Member to Team Leader

If you are reading this blog, there may be a good chance that you want to take that next step in your career to a leadership role or you have already been given that opportunity and want to succeed in it.

My name is Ian Said and I have been the Training Manager for the Business Efficiency department at Education Institute for the past 12 months and I would like to share with you my experience of taking that step from Trainer to Training Manager.

Before we begin though you need to be clear that everything that we do, everything that we think and everything that we achieve in life is a choice.  It may not seem that way at times due to circumstances but if you were to be completely honest with yourself, you will find that your environment is caused by the decisions you have made or due to what you have accepted.  This awareness is the first step to really designing the life that you want. One of the main characteristics of being an effective leader is the ability to turn negative disempowered thinking into positive empowered thinking. This thinking is also known as “above the line thinking” or “higher perspective thinking”.

There are a number of questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Why do I want to make this change (bigger picture thinking)? What will this do for me (emotionally and physically)?
  • To achieve your goals what are you willing to sacrifice? E.g. old beliefs and attitudes, work friends dynamics, etc
  • Am I willing to take responsibility for my own personal and professional development to become an effective leader? This may be outside of working hours.
  • Do I have the strength to remove my ego and become team-focused and not self-focused?

By answering these questions honestly you will find yourself in the right mindset when applying for any leadership position. 

I was told by an old wise man once that “leadership is not given; it is taken”. For me that was the moment where I started viewing things differently. I realised that I have been a victim too, waiting for someone to offer me an opportunity as opposed to creating that opportunities through my actions and taking opportunities when they are there. For me this played a big factor in the progression of my career and I still apply elements of that statement in any situations where I see an opportunity.

The first year in any position can be a challenging one to say the least. You are doing new tasks for the first time, you have new responsibilities, you have to learn at a rapid rate to ensure you don’t make any mistakes and you may be working with new team members.  That’s not to mention if you are promoted internally, you may even deal with the challenges of staff members being difficult and finding it hard to deal with the change.

So I have put together the six major points that have impacted me most to put me on the path to be a successful leader in my new role.

  1. Find yourself a workplace mentor - Don’t reinvent the wheel; find someone who is doing it well and do the same. A mentor can be a great support to you which you WILL need. Trust me.
  2. Get clear on your team’s short and long-term goals and work together to achieve them - Don’t try to do it on your own. Your team wants to be involved so delegate to people’s strengths.
  3. Value your team’s opinions and incorporate in day-to-day functions – This will not only encourage staff to contribute more in the future, but will also show that you care. People don’t care what you say until they know that you care.
  4. Become process-focused – Depersonalise causes of problems by developing processes that allow your team to analyse for variation as opposed to blaming.
  5. Never stop the learning journey – We are either growing or dying. Professional development is KEY to enable us to deal with challenges and keeps our minds healthy and engaged.
  6. Learn to manage your time by prioritising your highest value contributions.

In summary taking that leap from operator to leader has been a great experience for me. It has allowed me to gain a whole new skill set which I have been able to apply within work and out of work. As I have already mentioned, I don’t believe the learning ever stops and the moment that it does, growth will too. I hope you are able to take a few pointers away from my experience and you allow yourself to take a risk by taking that next step in your career.  I wish you all the best.

Click below to see how Education Institute can mentor your leaders through a range of workplace based Competitive Systems and Practices to improve their Leadership Capability and improve your productivity.

Click Here to Find Out More


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Author: Ian Said

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