Certainly you never expected this transition to be easy, but you also hoped that your extensive knowledge of the organization, your determination and previous wins would position you for success. In fact, you were told that is why you were selected. These are important things to bring to a new role, but as you advance in the company, so do complications that can derail New Leaders.
The 4 Shifts that Create Dilemmas in Promotions
When organizations elevate existing employees, they need to prepare their New Leaders for higher-level roles. Unfortunately, many promoted leaders are not adequately equipped for the dilemmas they will face when entering their new positions. In our experience with clients, we have noticed the presence of 4 shifts that internally promoted New Leaders are likely to experience.
- Perspective shift: The view from the executive floor is dramatically different. The New Leader may have moved from a structured, “black and white” role into a position fraught with ambiguity and “grey areas.”
- Political shift: The political landscape for newly promoted leaders is often completely different, and it takes on elevated importance. They may feel like they’re working for an entirely new organization. Navigating this unfamiliar terrain can expose a number of pitfalls.
- Managment shift: Former Manager(s) and their colleagues become peers, and they may view the New Leader under an old lens. A New Leader’s success depends on their acceptance, which may not be easily gained.
- Peer shift: Former peers become direct reports, and some may be unhappy about this change (especially those who were also considered for the role). These team members can make or break the New Leader, and they may not be overt about their displeasure.
By following the approaches suggested above, both the New Leader and the organization can work together to create a smoother and more effective promotion. And it will remind their colleagues exactly why they won the role in the first place.