Top 10 Ways to Shift from Doing Things Right to Doing the Right Things

Feb 07, 2024

The shift from manager to senior leadership marks a pivotal turning point in your career - and one that many unsuccessfully navigate. It's a juncture where you shift from being the accomplished executor, known for getting things done right, to the strategic orchestrator, responsible for ensuring the right things get done. This transition, while filled with opportunities and promise, is not without its challenges. The shift is akin to mastering a new skill after years of honing your expertise.

Throughout your career, you've excelled as a high-achiever, receiving accolades for your ability to consistently deliver results. Your dedication, unwavering commitment, and a track record of excellence have propelled you to this new role. However, as you step into senior leadership, the game changes. You're no longer just an individual contributor; you've assumed the mantle of a team leader and strategic decision-maker.

This transformation can be both exciting and unsettling. It's exciting because it presents a fresh perspective and a broader scope of influence. But it can also be unsettling, as your success as a senior leader is gauged by different metrics compared to your previous roles.

Here are some practical strategies to help you navigate this transition successfully:

  1.  Embrace Delegation: Understand that as a senior leader, your role is not to be the "super-doer." Delegation is your most potent tool. Trust your team members and empower them to excel. Provide them with the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their tasks. If someone can do it 70% as well as you, let them. Your job now is to focus on the bigger picture, ensuring alignment with your organization's goals.
  2.  Define Clear Priorities: Your primary responsibility is to set the strategic direction for your team and the organization. Clearly define the "right things" that need to be accomplished. Ensure your team understands these priorities, and make them the guiding force for decision-making. Streamline your team's efforts towards these key objectives.
  3.  Develop Your Team: Recognize that your success as a senior leader is inextricably linked to the growth and development of your team members. Invest in their mentorship and professional growth. Set up regular one-on-one meetings to understand their career aspirations and provide guidance on how they can achieve their goals within the organization. Encourage continuous learning and provide opportunities for skill development.
  4.  Empower Decision-Making: Trust your team to make decisions. Avoid micromanaging and allow team members to use their judgment. When individuals have ownership of their tasks and decisions, it fosters a sense of responsibility and accountability. Guide them, but avoid stepping in to dictate every move.
  5.  Communicate Effectively: Effective communication is crucial in senior leadership. Keep the lines of communication open and transparent. Ensure that your team understands the overarching goals and how their contributions fit into the bigger picture. Regularly share updates, progress reports, and celebrate achievements.
  6.  Lead by Example: Senior leadership requires leading by example. Demonstrate the behaviors, work ethic, and attitude you expect from your team. Your actions speak louder than words. Be the model of professionalism and dedication to inspire your team.
  7.  Recognize Uncomfortability: It's natural to feel uneasy in your new role, especially when your contributions are measured differently. Embrace this discomfort as a sign of growth. Seek support and training to adapt more effectively. Learning from experienced senior leaders can provide invaluable insights. Remember that it's okay to seek advice and guidance when you need it.
  8. Foster a Collaborative Environment: Encourage a collaborative and inclusive work culture. Empower your team members to share ideas, feedback, and suggestions. Create an atmosphere where everyone's voice is valued, and diverse perspectives are welcomed.
  9. Measure Impact, Not Output: Shift your focus from measuring output to evaluating the impact of your leadership. Your success now lies in the collective achievements of your team. It's about the results your team attains collectively, not just your individual accomplishments.
  10. Set Boundaries: To prevent overstretching yourself, acknowledge your limitations. Prioritize tasks and delegate when necessary. Setting boundaries ensures that you allocate your time and energy to what truly matters.

The transition to senior leadership is undoubtedly challenging, but it also offers profound opportunities for personal and organizational growth. By embracing delegation, defining clear priorities, developing your team, empowering decision-making, and fostering effective communication, you can successfully navigate this transition. It's about evolving from being a solo performer to a team leader, unlocking your full potential, and setting the stage for unprecedented organizational success. The journey may be challenging, but the destination is nothing short of extraordinary. Remember, you've got this!


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