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To Succeed as a First-Time Leader, Relax

Being handed the opportunity to step up to the plate and be the leader on a project for the first time can be an exciting and scary opportunity. What do I do? How do I do it? What’s the best course of action? Etc. etc. David Brendel writes for Harvard Business Review about the process he uses in his executive coaching practice as a guide for first-time leaders to succeed.

Finding a Calm Pulse

You need to shift your mindset. Being a leader does not mean be an evil authoritative dictator. It does not mean all work and no play. Of course, get work done, but be emotionally available in the process. Allow yourself to relax and look at this new position in a positive light. Balance out your “hard” and “soft skills” to be the best leader you can be. Utilize/enhance your mindfulness skills:

When managers choose to believe that they must develop leadership capacity and avoid overuse of their technical skills, they can embark on the hard work of staying calm and poised in unfamiliar situations.

Accomplishing this can be done through strategies such as meditation and controlled breathing. Doing so can empower new managers to navigate challenges that arise. Delivering a critical presentation, running a contentious meeting, or making a high-stakes strategic decision would be some examples. Allowing yourself to be mindful will assist in the quest to relax as you embark on this new role for which you are preparing.

Be medically well too. In order for you to be a successful leader and develop the mindset and mindfulness of a leader, you have to be mentally and physically well. The norm: sleep well, eat well, exercise regularly, and sustain good mental health. Don’t put things off. If it’s time for your annual checkup, get it done! If you feel overwhelmed or are not dealing with what life is throwing at you well, consider consulting a therapist. A healthy physical and mental state lays the foundation to be a great leader.

And lastly, develop meaning. You obviously are moving up from your current position for a reason. You have a vision in mind; keep that vision clear and work towards the goals you have set. That will be the driving force to develop the new skills and mindset required of a leader.

You can access the original article here:


About Melissa Colon

Melissa is a staff writer for AITS, with a background in journalism. She has previously written for York Dispatch and York Daily Record.

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