Whether one is a natural born leader or has been identified as having the potential for developing leadership skills, it can be a challenge rising through the ranks. Typically the most difficult aspect is gaining acceptance from those you lead. What Your Staff Will Want to Know:
I rose through the ranks and found myself supervising technicians who had been at the practice many years more than I. Immediately after the staff meeting at which my promotion was announced, one of the technicians who I was now supervising approached me and said "Nothing is going to change - right?". Her question brings to light what most staff members' primary concern is: how the changes will affect them. Yes, things WILL change - not just for your colleagues but also for you. Be prepared for your actions to be scrutinized and for resentment by some.
What You Can Do
Work on developing your leadership skills by:
1. Finding a mentor who has been successful in positions of leadership.
2. Read books on leadership such as Dale Carnegie's "How To Win Friends and Influence People" and Stephen Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Successful People".
3. Praise publicly, correct privately.
4. After you have been in your position for 6-12 months, ask your staff for feedback about how you're doing. Make surveys which allow staff to respond anonymously. Then, be open to what they have to say.
5. Be honest if you are still refining your leadership skills. Others will understand that. You will may mistakes and when you do, apologize to those involved. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Don't beat yourself up.
6. Keep your ego in check and be humble. Elevate and encourage your staff. Leaders don't need to prove they're better than anyone else. Be a king among kings rather than a king among paupers! Your job is to develop others to their fullest potential.
7. Hold people accountable. Nothing drags team morale down faster than when someone isn't doing their job and then isn't called out on it by a supervisor. This DOESN'T mean that you call them out publicly. It means holding everyone accountable in doing their job and doing it to the best of their ability.
Life is a journey of learning and new experiences. Professional development can be a wonderful part of life so embrace your new position, be humble and always keep your staff's and the practice's best interests foremost in your mind.