Claim Your Seat

2021-02-02 Confidence

You’ve worked hard, practiced your craft, and led your team to successes along the way. Then it happens … you’re being promoted to a vice president. Time to celebrate – you’ve made it! The hard part is over, right?

Take Joe, for example. (All names are fictious.) He is known as the subject matter expert in his functional area. In addition to knowing the granular details, he’s also a strategic thinker. He looks at what’s going on in the world and determines the implications; he gets ahead of the issues, makes recommendations as well as effective decisions that positively impact his company. So, what’s his challenge? As a new VP, he now regularly checks in and reviews his decisions with his boss … before he executes.

Sally has gone above-and-beyond for years in each of her assignments. She has a way of bringing together people with disparate opinions and finding solutions that are embraced by all. She’s a powerhouse when it comes to supporting her team – they can always count on her for insight and help. Sally’s challenge: she isn’t leading any key initiatives or driving any collaborative efforts because she’s “new” and people at this next level don’t know her well.

What do the two of these folks have in common? In a majority of newly promoted executives with whom I work, there’s an unanticipated challenge: truly believing in themselves. Instead, I witness two default mindsets: the first is proving that the promotion decision was the right one; the second is earning the right to be at the new level.

To change these mindsets, the initial step is to routinely remember that their skills and leadership acumen were reasons theyearned the promotion. And, proving the promotion decision was a good one can sometimes backfire; done too often, it might cause doubts in those who made the recommendation.

The next step – which takes time and practice – is to change behavior that demonstrates you are claiming your new seat at the table. The keys? Finding the right balance of confidence and humility; and knowing you have what it takes – right out of the gate — to do well at this next level of leadership.

This Week: Even if you haven’t been promoted recently, think of the time(s) where you tried to prove you had a good idea. How did you show up? Were you asking for validation or forcing your approach? Think of the time(s) you hesitated to provide your thoughts or decided to wait until people knew you better before you actively participated. What did you need to earn before you could act? What has to change in you to be the confident, humble leader?

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