3 Ways to Survive Being Promoted
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You did it! You got the big promotion, you got the bigger paycheck and the ability to make real decisions. Not to mention, the pressure and the responsibility that goes along with it. What now?
That’s where I was. I was suddenly a team leader for a team of 50. When the first euphoria of being successful wore off, the panic kicked in. To help others young leaders avoid the stress I went through, here are three ways to be successful at your first leadership position.
Take a break.
When you’re in a position with so many opportunities, our first instinct is often to do everything at once. More often it’s wiser to first take a step back, look at the big picture and set your priorities. Harvard Business Review observes us that breaks are “a practice that encourages us to stay mindful of our objectives.” When you’re a leader, being mindful is the most important thing.
There are a lot of relaxing activities you can spend your breaks on. From physical activities, to meditation, to naps, they all improve your focus and increase your productivity, in the long run. The key is to plan your breaks wisely and do different things every day so there’s enough new experiences in your life.
Learn to set goals for everyone.
As a leader, it’s your job to make sure not only you but your team enjoys success. That’s why, it’s important to make sure everyone on your team knows how to set SMART goals. One of the best methods for setting SMART goals is the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) system, popularized by Google and used by many companies today.
OKRs are used a little differently in every organization, but they have some fundamental similarities. Objectives are set every quarter on personal, team and company levels, and they should summarize the most important things that a person or team has to do. For managers they help to make sure that everyone on your team knows what you want them to do works as one, to remain engaged and happy. As OKR methodology is being adopted by new companies every day, there are a lot of resources to help you get started with it.
Work less than you want to.
The position of a new manager comes with a strong desire to prove yourself. This leads to burning a lot of midnight oil, neglecting your personal life and basically residing at your office. That’s not the wisest idea. It's not only important to take breaks at work, but you need breaks from work as well.
According to Kalliath and Brough, “work-life balance is the individual perception that work and non-work activities are compatible and promote growth in accordance with an individual’s current life priorities.” While your priority for now might be being outstanding at your job, you must also grasp the big picture. Is your priority also to burn out in two years or to neglect your personal relationships? And if you are driven by personal growth and learning new skills, work in not the only way to develop and improve your skills.
The easiest way to achieve this balance is to follow a strict plan or timetable that allocates time to both work, play and personal development. While hard at first, after it becomes a habit, you’ll always have some extra time set aside for friends and family. This arrangement might actually help you in your work. Your boss or manager might even be sympathetic to you trying to achieve balance: after all, he has probably been there.
My life would have been a lot easier if someone had told me all that when I started working. I would probably speak Spanish by now or know how to drive a motorcycle. But when you’ve freshly gotten that new promotion and have the need to prove yourself, you are on fire and can’t be stopped. At the end of the day, just try not to stress (almost impossible, I know). There was a reason you got this job. Someone believed you could do it. And if not, there’s a lot to learn from failure.