Navigating Your First Promotion
Make a plan and be ready to stretch yourself
Getting promoted to a leadership position is a goal for many professionals and hitting that milestone is as exciting as it is nerve-wracking. Each new phase in your career brings about new expectations, and you must be prepared to rise to the occasion. In our podcast The Everyday Leader, we hear from managers about their career journey and management experience.
Here are 3 learnings from several of these managers to help you ensure that you can successfully manage the transition during your first promotion:
Learn to set the pace of work for your team while being open to adjust: As the leader of your team, it is essential to align your team around a common goal and mission - and the speed in which you are moving towards that goal. During his first experience as a project manager, Syakaa William from Dalberg in Tanzania set ambitious goals and timelines, but didn’t build in enough time for his team to absorb the initial information and start implementing. Since then, he has been more intentional about being very upfront during project kick off calls about aligning on expectations and opening lines of communication for regular upward feedback.
Work with a coach to proactively reflect, learn and improve: Your first few weeks and months in a new role can set the tone for years to follow. Seeking out 1-on-1 coaching during this transition can help ensure that solid habits are formed with intention and care. Krista Davidson from Injini in South Africa shared that in her transition from Accelerator Manager to Executive Head, she would sometimes doubt herself or feel anxious. At this time, she was working with an executive coach through CoffeeChat. The coach introduced a framework of identifying and leaning into one’s top 3 strengths, and so during challenging times, Krista found it helpful to remind herself of this list as a way to not only build confidence but to strategize on how she could overcome a particular challenge.
Don’t let your first promotion be your last: Often individuals who experience a rapid rise in responsibilities early in their career find themselves slowing down. Délice Fatiro from Resonate in Rwanda shared that to make sure she doesn’t get too comfortable in the scope of her current role, she regularly reminds herself of her longer term goals. This motivates her to continue growing and seeking out further development opportunities.