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Stepping-Up: Transitioning From Peer To An Executive Leader -Focus on Team Part II of III

Team Rowing

In the first part of this three-part series, we explored setting the stage for a successful transition by leveraging existing relationships and establishing a new social contract, finding the right leadership tone, communicating consistently with clarity, and establishing a confident leadership presence with humility.

In this second part, we will explore the following three levers that will focus on the team, stating why it's important, what needs to be done, and how it can be done.

5. Identifying and Resolving Resentment, Resistance, and Push-back

Why it's important:

As a new leader, you might encounter resentment, resistance, and push-back from your team. Addressing these challenges effectively is essential for fostering a productive and positive working environment.

What needs to be done:

  • Balance your emotions: Before reacting to your team's frustration, take a moment to manage your emotions.

  • Lean into their resentment with the intent to learn: Listen actively to understand the root causes of frustration or resentment.

  • Redesign team goals: Collaboratively set new objectives or strategies addressing concerns.

  • Build deeper trust by owning your part: Take responsibility for your actions and decisions, and show your commitment to improvement.

  • Be assertive in a positive way when decisions have to be made, communicating the business rationale for the decision to get greater buy-in.

How it can be done:

Practice emotional self-regulation to respond calmly to resistance. Listen to your team members with empathy and the intent to understand their perspectives. Collaboratively work with your team to adjust goals or strategies to address their concerns, and always be willing to take ownership of your part in any challenges. Offer the help of a coach or mentor to erstwhile peers who are resentful or resisting to help them overcome the current situation and be part of the successful transition process.

6. Building Trust: The Foundation of Strong Team Relationships

Why it's important:

Trust is the foundation of a successful team. To transition from a peer to a boss, it's crucial to re-establish trust with your team. This trust is built on your credibility, reliability, and intimacy with very low self-orientation of the results.

What needs to be done:

  • Credibility: Demonstrate your expertise and competence in your new role.

  • Reliability: Consistently follow through on your commitments and promises.

  • Intimacy: Build personal connections with your team by showing empathy and genuine interest.

  • Self-Orientation: Be aware of how oriented your thoughts and actions are towards yourself vis-a-vis your team's needs. The lower your self-orientation, the higher the trust in you.

How it can be done:

Credibility is established through competence and sharing your knowledge when needed. Reliability comes from fulfilling your responsibilities consistently and communicating openly about challenges. Intimacy is fostered through open, empathetic communication and showing a genuine interest in your team's well-being. Being mindful of self-orientation means putting the organization's and team's interests ahead of yours.

7. Delegate Appropriately and Empower Effectively

Why it's important:

Delegating and empowering your team members are critical aspects of leadership. When transitioning from a peer to a boss, it's vital to strike the right balance in assigning tasks and empowering your team to take ownership of their work.

What needs to be done:

  • Delegate appropriately: Assign tasks based on your team member's skills and competencies while considering their development opportunities.

  • Empower effectively: Provide the necessary tools, resources, and guidance to allow your team to make decisions and take ownership of their work.

How it can be done:

When delegating, assess each team member's strengths and weaknesses and assign tasks accordingly. Allow them room to grow by challenging them with new responsibilities. Empower your team by providing the support and confidence they need to make decisions while being available for guidance when required.

These three levers will help you build a strong foundation of trust in the team, handle resistance and resentment, and empower your team.

The final part will explore focusing on results, cultivating your social intelligence, and investing in your personal development to build your leadership journey to help advance your career.


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