How to Quickly Overcome Inexperience
10 dangers of inexperienced leaders:
- Needing to be liked.
- Emotional decisions.
- Trying too hard.
- Neglecting the long term.
- Focusing on symptoms rather than causes.
- Aiming without pulling the trigger.
- Forget to say thank you. (Speaking of thanks, many of these points were inspired by contributors on the Leadership Freak Facebook Page. Thank you!)
10 questions every inexperienced leader must keep asking:
- What type of world are my behaviors building around me?
- How many questions did I ask today?
- What am I learning?
- Am I acting or reacting?
- When was the last time I spent an hour in self-reflection?
- What’s the most fun?
- Am I soliciting input from experienced leaders and staff?
- Do I welcome ideas from everyone?
- How are we leveraging everyone’s strengths?
- Who do I feel threatened by? Why?
12 powerful suggestions for inexperienced leaders:
- You matter in ways you can’t imagine. Watch your tone, body language, and attitude, everyone else is.
- Be optimistic about the future and realistic about the present. Optimism frustrates others if you don’t acknowledge present realities and problems, first.
- Challenges aren’t your biggest opportunity, people are.
- Be tender when you’re being tough.
- Remove manipulators and backstabbers. They may quickly deliver results but everyone around them slows down.
- Courageously ask dumb questions. (From the Chief Security Officer of Microsoft)
- Protect your team from political fallout and organizational interference.
- Believe your perspective matters. Listen to yourself as well as others.
- Avoid extreme reactions.
- Recruit mentors, advisors, and, coaches. Get support.
- Take responsibility.
- Make the best interests of your organization and others your priority, always.
Bonus: Stick with it. The reason it’s called experience is it takes time.
What can you add to these lists?
What can you modify or amplify?
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“You matter in ways you can’t imagine.” Thank you for that.
Thank you and best wishes!
Once again Dan, a post I should tape to someone’s fordhead…. I meant their door 🙂
I think it an important concept that people in general, and leaders in particular don’t give enough attention and credence to. That is “What kind of world are my behaviors building around me?”
The way we present ourselves to the world, is the way that people learn to “support” us, or fail to support us, or sabatoge us. If I am an experienced leader who comes across as needy, then I will get an enabling culture, but not one that likely respects me or my authority.
Just as our strengths prevade the team culture, so do our weaknesses, biases, and shortcomings that we refuse to address or acknowledge.
Thank you for your comment.
It took me too long to realize the stuff I saw around me came from me. OUCH!
Thankfully, once we realize how we make our own world, we can start adjusting our attitudes and behaviors to craft the one we prefer.
You have my best,
Helping the inexperienced grow and develop is an art for every leader to manifest. Dan, thanks for your comments and insight.
Thank you Erik! Best
“Trying too hard”? Aren’t you supposed to try as hard as you can? When does trying become too hard?
Yes, lets try hard. However, trying too hard can reflect insecurity and neediness. Better to settle into your strength. Cheers!
very true…..post this to all presidents in the world….we must help the world leaders
Best wishes and thanks for a good word.
you are welcome..thank you
Great post Dan! I really like the Bonus at the bottom! So true. Have a great day-
Thank you Tanya, Success to you, Dan
the hardest thing about breaking into leadership is convincing someone that you can do it. The experience part is just a matter of putting quality time in the seat.
These are some good points for people to be good beginner leaders.
I hear you. It can be frustrating when we feel we are able but we aren’t given the opportunity to shine.
Perhaps the term patience specifically applies to inexperienced leaders?
I agree on the patience, but in the current world the organisation around any leader does not have patience: even the newly appointed, inexperienced leader must deliver from the first quarter, or he is being rated as potential failure rather than potential star.
I love the stuff about impact on others. I’ve taken to making sure that people know I’m talking about their *unintended* impact when I give them feedback. Apparently, for example, my “default face” when I’m listening curiously and intensely comes across as angry, hard and mean. That’s certainly not what I intend! I also don’t know about it unless someone tells me, Now that I know, I can try to soften and open my expression, and maybe not narrow my eyes. (I’m still working on the accidental rolling thereof!)
I liked this line: “Believe your perspective matters. Listen to yourself as well as others.”
It’s very important. I would only add to it not to be attached to any one perspective and to keep playing with other, fresh perspectives to see if any of them resonate more than your own or the one that’s coming from the room. Trying on perspectives is a fabulous way to begin to get unstuck and move forward in choiceful strategy.
Thanks for consistently adding value.
Reading your comment made me think about the tension between finding stability and pushing into the new.
We want to create stable environments but stability often means stale. Thats where consistently bringing in new people, new ideas, and new environments.
Great list I would add: Accept you are not always right.
Learn to accept you are not always right and give employees permission (encouragement) to question and add value to your ideas and concepts. Good leaders need commitment for great teams to form. Commitment occurs through healthy conflict.
Thanks for adding value. You make me think about the value of having people who tell you the truth. Sadly, many leaders seldom hear the truth.
Reblogged this on Jots & Thoughts and commented:
This ought to be required reading for leadership training 101. 😉
Always great stuff Dan. Thanks. This should go in a book.
Thank you Edmund! Cheers
Another great post, Dan. Insightful.
Great list of questions every inexperienced leader needs to keep asking. Especially like #4: vacillating between the proactive vs reactive state can be a challenge at times depending on the situation.
Question #10 is also a very good one. I’ve done this for years and it can be very helpful. Especially in regards to boundaries. ‘What’s going on here? Why do I feel this way? What does this situation/person remind me of? Am I feeling triggered to take responsibility for someones feelings, etc, that I have no power to control?’ Not always easy to do, but it generally helps me make the shift to letting go of what I can’t control.
12 powerful suggestions list: Love this list.
Especially #1. Powerful. I’m thinking along the lines of parenting. When we truly understand the power of our words/actions and the impact we have on our children. Huge.
#2 is also a good one. Finding the balance between being optimistic and hopeful without falling in denial can be a challenge for many.
#4 is probably the most challenging for me to find balance with as my confidence grows in speaking up and finding my own voice. It also depends on the situation. I have found that learning how to speak the truth with love/compassion is a growth process. As infants, we get excited over just speaking the truth. Period. Then we learn that the truth all by itself can cut too deep. So then we learn that we have to work on how to speak the truth in a way that doesn’t cut people to the heart, etc. Definitely a growth process! 🙂
Another great post Dan!
I appreciate you bringing family to this conversation. I’m convinced moms and dads need to see themselves as leaders.
Making touch decisions in a tender way is a beautiful skill. Many need anger to work up the courage to do tough things. Or, we fall into blame mode rather than simply taking responsibility.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights.
‘I’m convinced moms and dads need to see themselves as leaders.’
So true, Dan. I’m speaking from first hand experience when I say this: Parents are leaders whether we like it or not. Accept it or not. Conscious of it or not!
When my husband passed away in 2005, if there was a label for me, it would have been this: The Reluctant Leader! haha
Talk about a rude-awakening in terms of finding out just what my strengths and weaknesses were in the parenting department. And just how much I relied on my husband to pick up the slack when it came to handling issues with the children that I didn’t feel comfortable handling. Sort of the, ‘wait until your father gets home’ syndrome. 🙂
When he died, I had to carry the whole leadership mantle. Mistakes and all. Spotlight on me. And no one to share the burden with OR pass the buck to! haha
I like the suggestion no 6- courageously ask dumb questions. It looks simple but it is very challenging. People might feel rejection asking dumb questions. And that is why people feel safer than to raise questions. In discussion or debate, keeping safer is the sign of insecurity or pleasing. Actually asking dumb question need more guts than asking smart question. Dumb question has hidden potential to open options. Most of the points are already covered, however I would rather add one more- accept, align and connect. Accept your realities and limitation align with purpose and connect with people. I appreciate that asking questions is the great step to become experienced. Knowing all and keeping quiet are the symptom of disconnected people. Leaders should learn to create climate of enthusiasm, energy and trust. Discussion and debate become sound only when people are concerned about collective growth otherwise it becomes routine that people want it to finish quickly.
Thanks for another useful comment.
Asking dumb questions is hard because we don’t want to look dumb. 🙂 I agree it takes real courage to ask dumb questions… nicely said.
The CSO of Microsoft said that he liked to remember that if he had a dumb question it was very likely others around the table had the same dumb question. They just didn’t have the courage to ask it. If you ask dumb questions it frees others to express their curiosity too.
Thanks for adding…accept-align-connect.
This is great advice for everyone–not just leaders.
Wow! I think I am going to put these in a folder somewhere and save it for continual use!
This is good stuff right here!
Keep them coming and I’ll keep on sharing!
Great post, Dan. Thank you for those concise, practical and balanced hints. Don’t be shy to ask for help and support from others but take responsibility. We all are emotional human beings, no need to pretend we are not, but keeping emotions under control and critically reviewing ourselves benefits everyone. And more so in the case of leaders or role models in general.
AND: communication, communication, communication! The good as well as the harder talks. Give feedback, be involved and do care! Take your time without loosing the focus… It is all in the balance and a question of priorities, so let’s get those right. Powerful stuff, all of it! Well done! Thanks.
Hey Dan, Thanks alot for these tips. It means alot.
“Stick with it”
The most important bonus I’ve ever encountered so far.
Dan, these are great lists of questions, thoughts and truths, thank you for posting them. I have the opportunity to lecture to new managers and I plan to pass these along.
Enjoy your evening!
In terms of watching tone and body language, I’ve had to work at being more animated and less deadpan in my delivery, especially when I’m making a joke. It has confused the people I’m trying to lead, and clouded the message I’m aiming to get over. It’s been worth the effort, though.
You are so right when you say people are watching us closely.
Can we add a second Bonus that says inexperienced leaders should seek out inspiration from blogs like this? People often gravitate towards a single source of wisdom (such as their boss or a trusted friend), eschewing other perspectives, especially those with which they may not agree. But keeping an open mind, and seeking prospective truth from multiple sources, helps us be better, more well-rounded leaders.
Dan, you provide important list of what inexperienced leaders should do to handle pressure of their company. Thank a lot.
Great post and one I will read often – as a new leader in the role for only 6 months I can think back to many situations where I need to remember these words of advice.
Definitely all things I knew or was once coached on but not something always front of mind.
Can’t believe I’m guilty of all 10 on that first list. No wonder why I’ve been so stressed. I’ll be rereading this and keeping it in mind.
A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you ought to write more on this topic, it might not be a
taboo matter but usually people don’t talk about such issues.
To the next! All the best!!