When you think about it, we’re only ever in transition. Change is the only thing that is constant in life. Change brings opportunity to those who act. If having an extraordinary life is marked by a series of successful transitions, then it makes sense to know how to transition well, doesn’t it? Your mindset creates the strategies and decisions that will create results and success. It all starts with our mindset. How you think, what you plan to do, and what you actually do is determining your success right now.
A successful career is made up of many successful transitions
It’s the same in business. New role transitions are the most critical and challenging times in a leaders career. They’re critical because, on one hand, they represent a new opportunity and a fresh new start, and on the other hand, they place leaders into a position of immense vulnerability. Leaders want to ‘excel and get it right’ yet they feel afraid and have self-doubt – it’s a combination that can derail even high performing stars. Whether you’re transitioning into a new role, going through major change at work, or wanting to take your professional results to the next level, the same principles apply. It’s all about embracing change to create success.
Fear will always be there
Two common fears transitioning leaders often share with me is 1) the fear they’ll be found out as being less of a leader than someone else thinks they are, and 2) the fear of not being good enough to be great in their role. The reality is, we all have fear in times of uncertainty and vulnerability. These fears are universal to us all in any area of life.
Your transition mindset is the key to your new role success
So if knowing how to transition is about deciding who you need to become to achieve the success you want, then learning how to transition successfully starts with how you think. In a new role transition, your mindset helps you face fear and embrace opportunity. Ultimately, your leadership destiny doesn’t lie in the path ahead – it lies in the decisions and actions that you’ll take in the first few months of your new role.
Here are 5 strategies that will help you create a successful transition mindset.
1. Know who are you as a leader?
Finding out who you are as a leader and what your leadership voice is, comes by knowing and understanding you. Knowing your values and beliefs as a leader is a great place to start.
Your values are what you believe is important and they’re based on what you do consistently. To understand your values as a leader ask yourself the following questions (they are based on the work of Anthony Robbins):
- Notice your hot buttons. What do you react to at work?
- Notice your strengths (what are the consistent themes in your work life that are important to you? eg: acknowledgement). What accurate feedback are you getting from your environment and the people around you?
- What do you spend a lot of time talking about? (it might be obvious, or just a theme which is between the lines or an umbrella theme that ties lots of things together eg: sustainability).
- What are your results? Your results are a clue of what you value (eg: discipline – some people consider a good working relationship at work to be based on consistently doing what it takes to keep it good, and this consistency requires discipline). Look at your environment and your relationships at work.
Your identity beliefs are your sense of self, who you are in various contexts. Your beliefs about the relationship you have with you, your confidence and your self-esteem.
As a leader in a work setting, the perceptions of your experiences are shaped by the beliefs you have about who you are. Given that all of your beliefs are entirely made up, why not choose to have beliefs that will serve and support you as you embark on your this new role?
- What are your beliefs that you have about you as a leader right now?To give you some examples:
- There is always a way to turn it around
- I am willing to be wrong
- My relationships with people will create my success
- I can align people together to achieve common goals
- I can build a strong positive culture across my team that will ripple out across the organisation
- What are the self-beliefs you need to let go of as you start this new leadership role?
- What are the new beliefs you can create for yourself as you step into this new leadership role? What beliefs do your role models have?
In summary, it’s by doing, and being in action, and finishing to completion that you will create the new reference points that you ‘are’ that will support and nurture your new beliefs.
Knowing who you are as a leader means being more certain of you. When you are more certain, you’re more self-assured, and others will in turn see you as being confident.
2. Be self-aware
Great leaders are self-aware, not self-focused. By being self-aware they quickly adapt to new organisational, cultural and political environments. They are contextually aware and emotionally aware. In a new role, they prioritise listening, observing, questioning, and learning over the need to look good, get it right, and know it all. Great leaders know that being vulnerable is important to embrace as it allows them to show genuine warmth and humility when making new connections. People respect and gravitate toward others who do this.
Leaders who are self-aware don’t fall into the common transition traps that other leaders easily do. They know their bigger picture – their vision, their purpose. They know their strengths, blind spots and they have strategies in place to mitigate against them. They approach learning as an investment and they take the time to understand. Their opinions and viewpoints are shaped by many perspectives. Decisions are made through concrete information, sound judgment and calculated risks, not just a leap of faith, and the need to create change as a leadership stamp.
Leaders who are self-aware know that their professional and personal growth is only limited by what they are prepared to learn – about themselves, and how to create strategies that will get them the outcomes they desire.
3. Know how to self-lead
Being an effective leader starts with self-leadership. Other people need to know they can count on you. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- How do you count on you?
- How do you keep promises you make to you?
- How do you keep improving you?
- What do you do to take care of you?
- What standards to you set for yourself? How committed are you to your standards?
If your self-leadership needs some attention, give yourself permission to turn your attention to you and explore what is driving the results you’re getting in any area of your life. The above questions will help you with some self-exploration. Ultimately, you will need to be the change that you want to see in others.
4. Start with the end in mind
Transitioning into a new role involves being on a steep learning curve. It’s easy to get caught up in the detail from the get go and become very busy (and not necessarily effective), and not invest the time to create a vision for your role. Focusing on the process and not even know why you’re doing it is a trap.
You need to be able to visualise or articulate a clear and concise picture of what success in your role look will look like.
- What are the results you want to achieve?
- How do you see your role and the contribution you’re making over the next 2-3 years?
- What are your ideal outcomes?
- What will this success give you?
- What legacy do you want to leave behind? What do you want to be remembered for?
5. Change how you think about fear
In business, fear is one thing we don’t like to talk about, even admitting we’re feeling nervous or a little anxious. We don’t want to be seen as lacking or having weakness.
Learn to treat fear as your friend. It’s only when you face fear that courage turns up. Courage will help you to push through your own boundaries and create new ones. Your ability to improve is a function of your ability to handle fear. Your times of greatest self and professional development will be created in time of experiencing your biggest fears. Even if the results you create are not the ones you want, if you believe that any result is feedback to be learned from, then the combination of fear and mistakes are to be embraced just as much as fear and success.