Irantha Jayasekara
Irantha Jayasekara
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October 20, 2014

Moving from a peer to a leader

By Irantha
Project Management

Few years ago, I was promoted to a lead position in my work place. It was one of my career dreams come true. So now I've got the opportunity to make things smarter and better as I thought earlier. But, reality is totally different. It is a big challenge! Do you know what will be the very first challenge you are going to face when you start work in your new position?

“Moving from a peer to a leader”
Do you remember, how did you used to speak about the company, the management, and the processes with your colleagues? Do you remember how you used lie to your boss about being free at your work time? Do you remember how much did you get disappointed when no one appreciated your hard work? Do you remember how you use to make fun of things with your favorite buddies?

Okay, so what is happening now?
Calm down, you can still do those things with your buddies but in different approach. Being a lead is not so difficult, it is a simple learning process more like a riding a bicycle. You just want to balance your body and move forward. You may fall, you may get hurt but you will learn, you will get better every time you fall. But remember at work, don't hurt others, you should win them while been the same old friend. Here, somewhat I've learnt from this transition.

1. Understand your new role in the company.
You are now a middle- level manager, who needs to stay intact with subordinates and the top management, so you may need change yourself a little bit. You've got more responsibilities in your hands, the success of your team is priority. You have to work as a colleague with your team while guiding them and also handling top management with achieving deadlines. Yeah, tough time! But it is important to keep in mind that you are still a human. Humanity takes you a long way. Don’t be rude, don’t forget how you were before this transition. Because it will help you to gain your colleagues’ trust, respect and cooperation. To have a great start, it is vital that you talk to your team directly, tell them that you are going to take your new role seriously, and that you will need their help in making sure you do the right things. Explain to them all the plans you had with them and get their feedback.

2. Create some limitations
You might be great buddies to your prior coworkers, but this is the time to create some boundaries. Don't misunderstand, you are still their friend, but with some boundaries. Why boundaries? In the near future you may have to take serious decisions, in those cases you should be able to speak them directly, order them directly. Don’t be afraid, they will accept those as long as you are being a real leader for them and they trust your command.

3. Find a real leader within you
Focus on your works, skip gossip sessions, work with your team, plan with them, and laugh with them, help them, understand their life situations and be a lead that clears the path for them. Never speak as it is your success when it’s your team’s success. It will always be a team effort but take the blame on you at every single failure, because it is really your failure that you haven't lead your team to the success. Just learn with your mistakes, don’t make same mistake again!

4. Listen Listen Listen!
Your team may have valuable input, so listen to them and understand what are they talking, don't speak too much, give them the chance to talk. While they open up, take notes. Think about what they are saying but don't commit if you are not sure about your authorities. Use “this is looks okay, let me check with the management” tactic in tough and rough situations. If it is in your authority and it is reasonable. Do it, give them a chance to try, sharing responsibilities gives them the chance to explore new things that you have never thought of. But make sure it won’t harm anyone else or to the company.

5. Stop worrying
Yesterday, you may have back talked about your boss. Today, they may talk about you. It doesn't matter what others think about you, over thinking will never change the outcome. But it is your responsibility to think about how to win people and achieve the set company goals. Moving from peer to leader is not so hard, but definitely a change from how you behave before. The challenge is to be an accepted leader, a true friend, and a loyal employee.

“Today is the tomorrow that we worried about yesterday!”
― Ann Brashares, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Author Details
Irantha Jayasekara
Irantha Jayasekara

Software Developer, Web Developer, Freelancer, Project Manager & Google Apps Scripts and API expert

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