42: 10 Steps To Become A Successful New Leader

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to leadership and charisma.

I’ve always been curious what made people more influential, successful, and genuinely liked.

The goal of leadership seems simple: to get people to do what they need to do to support the mission and the team. But the practice of leadership is different for everyone.

There are nuances in leadership that everyone has to uncover for themselves.

Everyone has their own individual characteristics, personalities, and perspectives.

The roots of my personal leadership education has come from (2) very nontraditional but highly effective learning environments:

  1. The Construction Job Site
  2. The Highly Competitive Hockey team

Over the last 6 years, I’ve been on and lead teams that built over $200M worth of high quality, profitable construction projects.

For the 15 years before that, I have been playing high level hockey both in Canada and throughout the United States.  Throughout my hockey career, I’ve fulfilled every rank, role and position on the team. I’ve seen and supported the team’s mission from every angle.

These experiences have given me a priceless perspective on the dynamics of organizations who set out to accomplish a mission and succeeding.

I’m not going to lie, I was lucky.

I had some great leaders who invested in me. They took the time to explain things to me.

I am honored to have the opportunity to be able to share some of the things I’ve learned about being a successful new leader.

10 Steps To Become A Successful New Leader

Once you have been selected as a leader, it is time to lead.

Starting off on the right foot is simple, but not easy.

What is the best way to do this?

Here are some fundamental rules to keep in mind as you take command.

  1. Be Humble. It is an honor to be in a leadership position. Your team is counting on you to make the right decisions.
  2. Don’t act like you know everything, because you don’t. The team knows that. Your boss knows that. Ask smart questions.
  3. Listen. Ask for advice and heed it. Listening is a huge part of communication. Leadership requires excellent communication skills. You cannot communicate effectively if you are not listening to what your people are saying and what is actually going on around you.
  4. Treat people with respect. Regardless of rank, everyone is a human and plays an important role in the team. Treat them that way. Take care of your people and they will take care of you. Pass credit for success up and down the chain of command.
  5. Take ownership of failures, mistakes, AND the solutions. Many young leaders start to grasp the fact that everything all of sudden becomes their fault. This is good. New leaders cannot forget that along with taking ownership of the failures, you must also take ownership of the solution and drive it home.
  6. Work hard. As the leader, you should be working harder than anyone else on the team. Taking out of the trash. Cleaning the office. Your job is anything related to supporting the team and the goal. No job is beneath you.
  7. Have integrity. Do what you say; say what you do. Don’t lie up or down the chain of command. Maintaining your integrity is insanely important for new leaders. Know that you will find yourself in uncharted territory and often outside your comfort zone. You will be doing things for the first time and things will go wrong. If you maintain your integrity and pure intentions at all times, you will stay clear of trouble and always be able to sleep at night. Do the right thing.
  8. Be decisive. When it is time to make a decision, make one. Always remember this: “Relax. Look around. Make a call.”
  9. Build relationships. That is your main goal as a leader. A team is a group of people who have relationships and trust one another. Otherwise, it is just a disconnected, incoherent cluster of people.
  10. Get the job done. That is the purpose of a leader – to lead a team in accomplishing a mission. If you don’t accomplish the mission, you fail as a leader. Performance counts.

Now go out there and lead by example.

Kyle Nitchen

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