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You’re a New Boss. Have You Had Any Leadership Training?


Coaching. Clear communication. Goal setting. Mentoring. Feedback. Relationship building. Delegation.

The first time you were promoted, was it because you could do any of those things well?

Think about it. Probably not.

© Flickr User The Natural Step Canada

You were promoted, most likely, because you were pretty proficient at the job you had. You were a great teacher, or made all of your production deadlines, or sold the most merchandise. Whatever the reason, it most likely had nothing to do with being a good leader or supervisor — because until you got promoted, you had never been one.

Did you know that about 40% of new managers fail within the first 18 months?

The reason is simple: While they may have been good at their old position, now they’re in charge of a team of 2, or 5 or 10 or 50 people — and no one has told them how to do THAT.

I’ve had a lot of jobs, (mostly due to being an Army wife, and moving a lot, and raising kids!) So my work history is a bit of a potpourri. I’ve had full, part-time, and temp positions. I’ve been a vendor and did work from home. But all of those jobs add up to a variety of bosses, and working under a variety of skill levels at being a boss.

My job now? I do marketing for a leadership development company here in Indianapolis. So I’ve learned a few things about leadership. “Meet your new team!” is the beginning and the end of the leadership training in some companies. While there are people who naturally gravitate to the role of being a leader, most of us need training at this critical career point. We just need to be shown how.

Are you a new leader? Or a leader who was never really been given the tools to be a good one? Here are a few ideas to help you begin to hone some leadership skills:

  • Read books. There is no shortage of books on the subject of leadership. And not just leadership books per se, but books on other skills and qualities that count. Here is a great list of recommended books, by my boss, Kevin Eikenberry. He writes one book recommendation a week!
  • Find a mentor. I wish I had known how important this was earlier in my career. A mentor will not only be a helpful guide for you, but often is the missing link between you becoming a just-getting-by supervisor and a truly amazing leader. You can learn a lot from someone who has been there before you.
  • Follow the experts. Do you follow many of the top leadership experts in the world? Check them out on social media and sign-up to read their blogs. You don’t need to follow them all—pick a few at a time. This is free professional development!
  • Make an effort to be inspired. Inspiration is like a shot of adrenaline you can start you day with: it gets you going! Seek it out on a regular basis. Here are the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders — read one a day and you’re good-to-go for a month and a half!
  • Seek out structured professional development. Just like the books, there is no shortage of leadership companies and consultants. I could start a leadership company with my neighbor down the street – there is no real accreditation, so there does seem to be a lot of people doing it. Look for the ones who have been at it a while. Look for a product to fit your needs, be that book, a webinar, a workshop or private coaching. There is plenty to choose from.

We’ve all had bad bosses. Don’t be one of them. If your company does not provide any leadership training, seek it out yourself. You’ll enjoy the accomplishment of knowing you are positively affecting the people you lead.

Because the key to developing others—the essence of being a good leader—is to develop yourself too.

Additional free resources are everywhere. Providing quality content is smart marketing for many companies. Here’s an example from our friends at TKO Graphix and also a webinar from my employer, The Kevin Eikenberry Group.

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About the Blogger: Laura Neidig works for the Riley Children's Foundation as Senior Communications Officer. She also serves as Marketing Liaison with the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and is a 4-time Emmy award winner.


Tue, March 24 2015 » Change Managment and Learning Organization, Corporate Culture

One Response

  1. brianwortel January 13 2017 @ 2:32 pm

    Great article.

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