Nervous about a new leadership role? Here’s how to rise to the challenge

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I was chatting to a client a while back who told me she was feeling nervous about taking on a new role – one at a much senior level than she’d previously worked at.

It’s ok to feel nervous – who wouldn’t in this case? But we did acknowledge that nerves, or rather focusing on them, were probably going to get in the way of helping her to shine in those first few weeks.

I asked her a question – ‘How could you demonstrate what an asset you are instead?’

Every reply she gave me was prefaced with the phrase…

“What an asset I am to them, because…”

And then she filled in the blanks, using a warm encouraging tone of voice so she worked up an emotional connection with what she was saying.

If you’re nervous about a new role, or having to step up and meet the challenges of an existing one, then try the same approach. Concentrate on identifying the skills, experience and expertise you bring to the role and the value you will add, by supplying demonstrable examples of the value you’ve bought to other roles and projects in the past.

Try doing this with someone else – have them ask you the question and you supply the answers – write them down as you go. Saying things aloud is powerful – there’s a potency in the spoken word, whether it’s freeing us of our fears, or supplying truths to stabilize us.

Here are some other strategies you can use to make sure you’re the ‘best’ you that you can be when you rise to the challenge.

Accessing Your Best Self

What conditions are necessary for this? What behaviors, mindset, attitude and beliefs will be useful for you to focus on? What’s worked well in the past? When I first moved overseas, I took the attitude to be curious about everyone I met, which helped me form a strong network over time.

Creating The Right Impression

How do you need to be to do this? How do you need to show up? What have you seen others do that works? What’s worked for you in the past? How will you maintain this and who’s help and support might you need? Again, when I was overseas, being open and approachable worked, well as well as listening…really listening! What would you like people to know about you?

How Can You Prepare?

Before your new role, what kind of preparation can you do? What knowledge will you need to have and do you have it? What background research may you need to do? How can you ensure that you are at the top of your game professionally? Do you need a subject refresher?

Are you about to step up into a new role – or have you been in post a while? If so, how are you finding it?

This article first appeared on Be Leaderly.