Sometimes I think a lot. At other times too much (and sometimes it hurts). Writing is one of the tools that help me clarify a lot in terms of my thinking or reflecting. I’ve written about this before, here.
I haven’t made a journal entry this year and I probably should be doing that. Having taken on a new leadership role in a different city and context.
I’m loving it. A new challenge in a different environment and context. I still have a great sense of adventure and loving it.
In some ways there are leadership dynamics unique to contexts. Then again, not much difference in the function(s) of leadership. The effectiveness of every and or any leader does depend on how well they understand their context.
When leaders have no understanding of what their context is and the demands of that context they failure is almost guaranteed. This can be a spoiler for the new adventure…
Thus, as I lead in my new role I must be careful to reflect on my context and it’s demands. There is no way I can be effective without doing so.
When assuming a new leadership role leaders must be employ the tool of listening. Temptation exists to step in and start making changes because of either a communicated or uncommunicated expectations.
Before doing much new leaders must listen much. Things to note:
Listening means not flippantly spewing suggestions or critique. It means asking questions, a lot. It means asking why things worked the way they have or being done in a particular way.
Don’t let your experience trip you up… Don’t be so smug you think those you meet in your new roles never considered some things you’re might suggest. They might have not and this doesn’t mean you could’ve if you were there when decision where taken before your era.
There can easily be innumerable instances where they have more than one up on you… No one wants to serve with a jerk of a leader. Don’t be a jerk.
There will be plenty of time for suggestions and changes. When you’re starting out, chill and do nothing but listen.
Listening is really about fact finding. The silence needed here is not the kind that could destroy your enterprise but it is necessary for the good of it. Listening, in this instance, is about gathering information about systems. It is listening out for hostility and tensions of systems, dominating thoughts and sentiments.
It means paying attention to see the great things going on. It is allowing your fresh eyes to appreciate the resources you have at your disposal for your assignment.
Willingness to listen as you assume your new role is a product of humility and servanthood. No one likes people who only have a room for themselves and their ego. Stay humble and listen.
Humility is necessary for great listening and learning. Your priority as a new leader is to listen. Learn before attempting any change. Listening communicates that you care about the people who serve in the enterprise or team and the enterprise itself.
If you have access to your predecessor, listening to them is one of your greatest resources. It is possible they could be battered by their role… On the other hand they may have been flourishing by the time they handover to you. It would be folly to completely ignore them and the wisdom they accumulated…
Listening is at the heart of identifying challenges and opportunities for growth.
This is a ‘note to self’ and hope it is useful for you too either now or later ;-)