Leadership Lessons: Transitioning Into a New Role

© tostphoto - Fotolia.com

© tostphoto – Fotolia.com

In a small business like TAPE, our VPs need to be very hands-on in the day-to-day operations of the company. They’re responsible for business development, maintaining current customer relationships, building our repository of teammates and partners, and strengthening and maintaining those relationships, each for their specific line of business.

This “leaner, meaner” approach enables us to respond more quickly to opportunities and optimize our resources.

One of our VPs, Daria Gray, transitioned into this role from another leadership position in marketing and communications. I asked her to share her reflections on the challenges and opportunities of this type of change.

She says the internal transition happened quite naturally, “Once I’ve made up my mind to do something and am committed, I want to put in the time and energy to succeed.” Yet for some of the people around her, it took time to let go of Daria being in that former role, and to allocate her previous functions to others within the organization.

She says this is an example of a lesson that holds true in everything in life, and that is that you cannot change others. “They are going to continue to do what they have naturally done, but you can change your response or your reaction to their behaviors.”

Daria said that by being firm in her own mindset about the path she was on, she could gently remind others that she was no longer performing those capabilities.” For others in this same situation, she suggests you “stay focused on your new role and kindly redirect people to others who can provide guidance on matters for which they are seeking assistance.”

For Daria, this has been a really positive move, and she’s enjoying the responsibilities of her new role – managing not just the work, but the people and all the new endeavors that have come with it.

As many small businesses transition to a more lean/low-cost/low-overhead environment in the Federal sector, these kinds of transitions will become much more common.

It is much better to take a current, committed employee, who has demonstrated leadership, and train them in a few functions gaps, rather than go through the hiring process and then guess as to whether you were right or wrong on your choices.

As your existing customers are your greatest source of increasing growth and revenue, so too, your existing staff may be the best to fill new leadership roles. Reach out and see if someone wants to grow in a (sometimes surprising) new direction.


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