When you decided to work in a company, you hope you will eventually move up the corporate ladder. You know that it’s not going to be easy considering the quality of employees who work with you. They’re all worthy of a promotion, along with the most experienced members of the team. Therefore, it’s a big surprise if you advance to a higher post even if you’re still young. The management team saw your potentials and decided to give you a leadership post. Even if you’re young and some seniors also deserve the position, you were chosen to do the job. It’s tough being in your place. You want to do an excellent job since other people entrusted you, but you also worry that you will hurt others if you take the role seriously. For instance, if you want to make some changes at work, it won’t be easy. You will be met with resistance by those who have been with the company for a long time. If these changes are worth fighting for, you need to do them. If you have to buy the big Berkey filter to improve access to clean drinking water, it’s worth doing. It might be costly, but everyone will benefit from it.
You have to deal with people who have been with the company for a really long time. Some of them are uncomfortable with the idea of change. Ensure that you don’t let them rule over you, especially if you see the benefits of doing these changes. If other employees agree with you, there’s no point in backing down. Apart from being tough and imposing the necessary changes, these are the other things you have to do to prove your worth as a young leader.
Shoddy people think of you as a young leader; you might have to earn everyone’s trust. If you assign tasks, you can’t expect your colleagues to listen to you. They might not even see you as someone with a leadership role. The best way to show them that you’re the head is by being firm. When there are agreed consequences, you have to implement them. If you agreed on a deadline, you should follow it. Don’t accept any excuse for inappropriate work attitude. It’s even worse when someone did a terrible action. Conduct an impartial investigation, and you shouldn’t care who gets hurt in the process. Once you’ve proven that you’re a strong and firm leader, you will never be belittled again.
Be willing to listen
Although it pays to be firm, you should also show your willingness to listen. A good leader doesn’t only command people. The test of authentic leadership is the ability to listen to others, even those who don’t have anything meaningful to say. Although you want to show you’re tough, it doesn’t mean you always have to be bossy. It can gain attention but not sustain trust and respect. If you want people to respect you, it’s essential to learn how to listen.
Brush negative criticisms aside
Criticisms are inevitable. Even if you’ve done everything right, you will still hear people criticizing you. People in leadership roles for years couldn’t escape criticisms, either. You shouldn’t feel bad if someone tells you that you’re not doing an excellent job. Even if all your ideas are met with objections, you have to keep moving forward. You can listen to these criticisms only if they’re constructive. However, if you know that the intention is to bring you down and make you lose hope, you should learn to ignore them. Select your battles, and don’t stress out on every negative thing you hear.
Learn from experienced people in the team
If you’ve risen the corporate ladder quickly, you might have to work with people who came years earlier than you. Some of them didn’t deserve the post or chose not to take the leadership position. Despite that, they’re an invaluable member of the team. You can learn a lot from them. They have experience, knowledge, and attitude that made them last long in the business. Use them to your advantage. Consult them if you have doubts and questions. Some of the recent fights you’re dealing with might be nothing new to them. Asking the senior members of your team will make it easier to navigate a difficult path.
Just because you got a promotion doesn’t mean you’re the best, and you have nothing more to learn. If anything, you’re still at the start of your journey. There are plenty more things to learn from others. Even if you’ve been working in the industry for several years, you can still learn more. Be open to ideas and suggestions. Be humble enough if you don’t know what to do next or face an uncertain terrain. You will be a better leader if you admit that you’re not yet good enough, and you wish to know more.
You can learn from meetings and discussions. You can also take short courses and attend seminars. If you wish to go back to formal schooling, you can always do so. There are many ways to improve yourself, personally and professionally.
You’re lucky to have received the opportunity to lead a team despite your age. In many industries, being young isn’t necessarily an asset. People will question how quickly you ascended to your current role. If you’re a family member of the owner or has ties with the management team, it’s even more questionable. Regardless of how you moved to the top of the post, you need to prove your worth. People will keep telling you that you don’t deserve it, but you can’t let them stop you. Besides, if you’ve managed to prove that you deserve that role, you can still move higher. With your skills and determination, you will take more leadership roles and see the better version of yourself.