“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

It’s important when you step into a new role of leadership to promote yourself. When you step from a functional role such as a top sales leader, developer, or more, to being a leader, you need to mentally promote yourself, otherwise you will end up micromanaging, and losing control of your new job and be back in the old one. How can you prepare yourself?

The same mentality should go into young leaders stepping into the role of business leader for their parents or family business. You have to mentally promote yourself. If your family business is large enough, you should move through the ranks to stepping into a leadership role, if it is not, you most likely will step into a leadership role either out of your own desire to be more involved in the company, or out of no choice (death, illness, financial trouble). Either way, the worst thing you can do is not promote yourself mentally. You need to accept the new position, forget whatever past brought you there, including past successes, and start fresh with the new role and position.

Transitions are seldom a step by step process, often times they happen in a hazy window from one role to another, with people having to fill multiple roles, before embracing the new one, or even knowing how to let go of the old one. One suggestion is to mentally visualize yourself in the new role, literally, closing your eyes to look at the old position and stepping into the new one. Look for advice from friends, advisers, online forums and groups. The only way to get comfortable and ready for action in a leadership role during transition, is your own efforts, and there’s usually not much time to accomplish that.

Read next weeks posts for a follow up on tips on hitting the ground running!

Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders At All Levels: The First 90 Days: Michael Watkins (2003).