Things to Consider Before Accepting a Leadership Position
Updated: Dec 19, 2022
If you think management is an easy job, I am sorry to tell you that you are wrong in many ways. You can not just boss people around and hit them over the head to get the job done, because that's assault, not leadership.
Let us say you were recently offered a leadership position. In this case, you are probably the least intelligent person in the group, because managers are often seen as the ones who get the job done with the help of another team member who can do the actual work.
So think twice before accepting a leadership position, because it's no walk in the park. No one wants to be the person who attributes their poor leadership style to fate. Before you take the leap to the next level, consider the following 12 factors.
1- Your team depends on you, so take responsibility
You should stick to the very first rule: Everything that goes wrong is your fault. You are responsible not only for yourself, but for the entire team. You must be willing to spend a lot of your time guiding and motivating your team members to do their best. Motivation is like a bath: it does not last long and is recommended daily.
2- Your colleagues may feel alienated from you
Do not let your subordinates think of you as their boss. Let them think of you as their friend who is always right.
If you are offered a leadership position in the group, your colleagues may feel that you are above them. You need to talk to them to get them on your side. A simple "good morning" or "how are you?" is not enough.
They should know that you are approachable and available when they need you. As a good leader, you must always stay in touch with team members and take time to make it clear that you are interested in them and their opinions.
3- Longer and outside of work hours.
A leadership position is not just about sitting in a comfortable chair all day and watching what happens. It's also about your willingness to work long hours.
You can not just assign a task and expect others to do it for you. You need to stand by your team, support them, and offer solutions when they ask for your help.
You will undoubtedly have some relaxed days delegating work and trusting your team members to get the job done. You will also delegate responsibility to your subordinates to empower them and provide them with the resources they need to get the job done on time.
4- Learn new skills to improve yourself and your subordinates.
To be a good leader, you must hide your panic from others and remain calm even in the worst situations. You may have earned your leadership position by working an 8-hour day, but now you have to work 12 hours to keep it. To be a good leader, you need to develop the following skills.
5- Communicate effectively
Ask yourself if you are a people person. Can you effectively communicate your ideas to your team? If not, you need to work on your soft skills, such as listening to others when they complain about how hard the work is and why they can not complete a certain task.
You also need to listen to others' creative ideas, because that's what teamwork is all about.
There are two groups of people who do the work and others who take credit for it. You must belong to the first group and be willing to give everyone credit for the teamwork.
Also, improve your writing skills. You will need to do paperwork on many occasions. Reviewing reports requires special writing skills.
It is important to have difficult conversations with your subordinates to force growth and change. These conversations are not easy, and only a leader with special skills can have them successfully. At some point, you will also need to provide constructive feedback, tighten the reins, or part ways with employees you no longer find valuable. Even the simplest things can be misunderstood, so be attentive and to the point when communicating with others.
Think twice before making a decision, but once you make it, stand by it. Do not change it based on the convenience of others. Do what is right for the organization and the project at hand. You do not have to make the decisions right away. Think about the possible outcomes, discuss them with your team, take a coffee break or something similar, and then come back to it so everyone is happy with the outcome. Do not make hasty decisions. Be consistent and stand by your decision once it is made.
7- Empathy and sensitivity
Learn to empathize with the needs of your team members or they will hate you. Or you can always keep the people who hate you away from those who are still undecided, so you remain a good manager in the eyes of some.
8- Be prepared to be a role model for your team
If you want to take your management game to the next level, you need to be a role model for your employees. This means not complaining about your boss and missed deadlines or being late for work meetings with your subordinates during coffee breaks. Just like in a parent-child relationship, you need to show your employees what your values are and how they should behave, because they will look to you as an example of how to handle adverse situations and challenges. You can always use the strategy of looking busy and doing nothing, and make your employees believe that you are working harder than everyone else; this might motivate them to work hard.
9- Align employee goals with company goals.
Leadership is not just about managing your subordinates, but also presenting your work to your boss. This is referred to as "managing up." You need to discuss where you are and what your goals are from time to time with your supervisor to make sure they are in line with the company's goals. No one wants the train to derail. It is only beneficial to follow a certain path that has been established beforehand.
10- Delegate tasks and trust your team
One way to be a good manager is to hire talented people and trust their selection and ability to complete the assigned task. You must delegate some of your responsibilities to your team members. A good manager does not distribute tasks arbitrarily, but first assesses who wants to do the task and then assigns it. This way, the work can be done much better and without drama, resulting in a win-win situation.
Further reading: Tips on How to Delegate Effectively to Increase Productivity (and Professional Growth)
11- Be the change you want to see in others
The ability to change others is an arduous but rewarding task. You can not expect everything to stay the same, because even stagnant water starts to stink after a while. We do not want that to happen. Or do we want it to? When an opportunity for growth presents itself, you as a leader must be ready to seize that opportunity and implement the change process throughout the organization.
People always resist change and laugh at the best ideas at first, but as a leader, you need to push through and see past the abuse that comes your way and be yourself. Be the best version of yourself and set a good example for your subordinates.
12- Make the right decisions, even if they are not popular.
Only accept a leadership position if you feel that you are in no way forced to go with the flow, because only dead fish swim with the flow. You can do much more than that. You should be able to make difficult decisions and learn to say NO because NO is the key to leadership. You can never be a good manager and a good leader if you say yes to everything.
People may hate you for making unpopular decisions and going against their will. However, you must do what is in the best interest of the company. Just keep swimming and others will eventually follow you.
Bottom line: if you want to be a leader, you need to take on more responsibility. You will have to improve your skills, communicate with your subordinates, make difficult decisions, change yourself before you change others, and make some enemies in the process. Some people find this challenging, others find it stressful. If people feel they can think independently, they will be happy to contribute new ideas, but they will hate you if you force them to think a certain way. So it all depends on what kind of person you are: You can either blame others for your mistakes or bring people together and lead them.