Your last project was considered a huge success and, as a result, you just got promoted a few rungs up to run a department for the first time.
You’re over the moon you were promoted, of course, but then… FEAR sets in. Maybe you’re afraid you don’t know what you’re doing. Maybe you feel like you don’t have the experience or the knowledge to jump right in and do the new job.
Welcome to leadership. There isn’t a good manager in the world—even one who has been on the job for years—who doesn’t have a daily panic attack about the load of stuff he or she doesn’t know but should, the confounding challenges ahead, and the sheer impossibility of getting it all done.
Getting promoted is a double-edged sword: thrilling, yes, but terrifying. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first managerial stint or the culmination of your career, with a seat in the corner office. You are the only one who understands how little you know about the new job, especially when compared with those big, bold expectations your bosses keep mentioning. Whatever happened, you want to scream, to the perfectly logical idea of a grace period?
You don’t scream, of course. After all, you’ve been told that leaders need to appear calm and in control, and that’s true. Leaders should look and act like leaders for the sake of their people’s respect and confidence and the organization’s momentum.
But being a leader doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions; good leaders are, by definition, voracious learners, relentlessly probing the people around them for ideas and insight. They are voracious relationship builders, too, really getting to know everyone in the business who can open their eyes to the “who, what, and when” of the job. Obviously, you don’t want to seem clueless. But you do want to appear deeply inquisitive about every aspect of your business and passionate about what your people think it will take to win. Those traits won’t undermine your authority. They’ll enlarge it.
Source: This article was originally published on LinkedIn.