Monday, 12 June 2017

From the Cubicle to the Cabin

"People don't get promoted for doing their jobs really well, they get promoted for demonstrating their potential to do more"
-- Tara Jaye Frank
(Vice President, Hallmark Inc.)

Getting a promotion is a delightful moment for all. But it also leads to some major changes in our own ways of working as well as our relationship with others, especially when one moves from middle management to the senior management level. A few tips can be helpful for a smoother transition:

1) Remember what brought you here- Out of all the things that fly out of the window when a person rises up the corporate ladder, 'humility' is usually the first one, very closely followed by 'hard work'. Staying connected to your roots and ensuring that basic yet important qualities like these are not left behind is necessary for long term success. If you prefer, ask your boss about the qualities that lead you here and also reflect on your own work in the past, the challenges that you have overcome and the mistakes you have made to extract the learning out of them and to continuing the good work.

2) A little more to the next stop- Top leadership expert Marshall Goldsmith correctly titled his book- "What brought you here won't get you there". The cabin brings along new challenges and responsibilities with it and the way you have worked to come this far may not be ideal to attain the same growth levels. Becoming crystal clear about your roles and responsibilities can help you maintain your growth trajectory and competitive edge. Have a frank conversation with your new boss and team members. It's good to be aware of what they expect from you and at the same time, for them to know if  their expectations are reasonable and attainable. This will help all of you to be on the same page since the very beginning and will prevent any misunderstandings, over-estimations or over-expectations in future.

3) It can be lonely but wait- We all have built workplace friendships, some have more, some have less but we surely have people who are more than just colleagues. In the cabin, you will definitely miss the quick refreshing conversations with the person on the next workstation and those cafeteria breaks whenever you prefer as your new responsibilities may or may not give you the level of liberty you enjoyed earlier. But at the same time, having your own space can help you leverage a very important human quality- "Focus". When distractions reduce, it becomes easier to focus on our work, self-learning, and finding innovative ways of doing things. Moreover, your new team members are also humans having the same emotional needs so you can be sure of finding new buddies quicker than you think.

4) Be prepared to re-win trusts- Let's face it- you'll suddenly become the boss of many who were sitting right next to you just yesterday. Now that you'll be seeing things from a broader perspective, your opinions and point of view might change as you would then need to make decisions for a greater good. People with whom once you worked with may suddenly become skeptical about your actions or expect you to be a changed person simply because of your new designation. To avoid any such misunderstandings, it's important to stay equally connected with them especially for the first few weeks while you settle in your new role. Talk to them as frequently as you did earlier, take a break with them so they don't feel left out and eventually become confident about the fact that only your position has changed- Not You.

5) When in doubt, open your mouth- It doesn't matter if you are an intern in your company or the CEO, every day is a lesson and learning never stops. Just four words for it- "DON'T HESITATE TO ASK". Many senior executives lose their competitive edge simply because they think asking questions or clarifying simple facts will make them look dumb and their juniors might question their capability. Remember- "You are a Human. It's okay if you don't know it all; till the time you are willing to learn, you're good"

There surely must be many more things one could do to ensure that the new corporate journey begins on a positive note. What are your suggestions on it? Drop them in the comments below!

Chintan Srivastava Leadership