You have the opportunity to apply for a leadership position in your organization and you think you have a good chance of success. Most advice that comes your way will focus on whether you have the right skills and qualities for a leadership role.
You will probably have put considerable thought into whether you are right for this, examining the job description and crafting your resume, but is a leadership position right for you? Before you plunge in, stop and take a breath. Asking yourself the five questions below and answering honestly will help determine if this is the right road for you:
1. How am I with responsibility?
The first is a simple one: you will need to get used to making decisions and being accountable for them whether they work out or not. If you don’t feel comfortable taking responsibility or standing out in the crowd, think carefully about how stressful this is going to be for you.
2. How am I with confrontation?
Setting standards and maintaining quality will be a key part of your role. Inevitably there will come a point where you have to talk to a member of your team about their work or their behavior. Can you easily cope with difficult conversations, getting your point across clearly but understanding the other point of view at the same time? If you shrink from confrontation or go into battle over everything, you may struggle to balance your interactions with your role.
3. Will I have to give up something I love?
Think about teachers in schools. Really good teachers often rise to the top and take up Headship roles. Their role is now about leadership, and they find themselves in a position where they rarely teach classes anymore. Think about the tasks that will take up your time, is there something you enjoy that you will no longer do? Will you miss this or are you ready to move on?
4. How important are my work friendships?
Once you’ve accepted this position, you are not “one of the guys” anymore. You may be supervising people who have been close friends in the past. There is no reason why this shouldn’t work, but relationships will change, and having one special friend from your team probably won’t be an option. In addition, you may come to think about them differently – a gregarious and high-spirited person may be a fun-loving companion, but a complete nightmare to manage.
5. Am I a people person or a lone wolf?
Leading a team is essentially about working with, supporting, and developing people. If you are someone who enjoys working alone and just focusing on your own job, this is going to take you right out of your comfort zone. You might consider putting yourself forward for a temporary project and see how it works out for you before making a permanent change.
If you are now reconsidering taking a leadership position, perhaps it’s worth examining the underlying factors that got you to this point. Was it the money that attracted you, or are you bored and ready for a change?
Leadership is a road that can be difficult to turn away from without feeling as if you have failed, so don’t rush into it without due consideration. It’s also only one of many roads to take you forward if you feel it’s not for you. However, if you are more certain that this is your true purpose and you have something to offer, be brave and go for it.
Whichever road you take, believe in yourself and enjoy your time there!
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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