Richard S. Wellins is head of worldwide research and marketing for Development Dimensions International (DDI). Richard S. Wellins is also the co-author of Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out The Best In Others.
Tacy M. Byham is the Chief Executive Officer of Development Dimensions International (DDI). Tacy M. Byham is also the co-author of Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out The Best In Others.
Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others acknowledges the hardship of a first-time leadership position plus strives to guide and assist new leaders in:
- becoming “Catalyst Leaders”. “Catalyst leaders represent the gold standard—energetic, supportive, forward-thinking mentors who spark action in others”.
- coping with the transition from contributor to leader, dealing with the uncertainty of the new position
- building or improving leadership skills,
- communicating effectively with your team and your bosses,
- working with members of your team, coaching them, engaging with them and motivating them in order to obtain results,
- Navigating organizational politics.
Several self-assessment tests, quizzes and diagnostics are implemented in the book to make light of a challenging situation, to evaluate and enhance your leadership skills.
According to Your First Leadership Job, the catalyst leader should follow the following steps to ensure success:
- Learn your organization’s culture and get to know your team and your bosses to get a better understanding of your role, your priorities, the expectations from your team and from upper management, the current reputation of your team, their preferred communication methods and finally, their good and bad habits.
- Make a first good impression the moment you step into your new role. Judgements by your team will instantly be formed about your capabilities to lead.
- Develop a leadership brand. In order to develop a leadership brand, be authentic (show your integrity through your actions), bring out the best in people (understand and improve your team skills, encourage, motivate and coach them), be receptive to feedback.
- Address and meet your team personal needs. To do so, use the five Key Principles: Maintain or enhance self-esteem motivate the team. Listen and respond with empathy to diffuse negative energy and create a positive environment.Ask for help and encourage involvement to show that you respect and value your team’s opinion, knowledge and skills.Share thoughts, feelings, and rationale to build trust. (to build trust)Provide support without removing responsibility. (to build ownership)
- Implement or improve your common leadership interaction styles.
- Start seeking performance results and meeting the company’s requirements/needs by developing an execution strategy (focus on the three major priorities at a time, manage time accordingly and measure task progress with indicators, create milestone for the team, by holding your team accountable for their own results)
- Learn how to hire new candidates for a job by asking the right questions during the interview.
- Develop a good working relationship with your boss.
- Master meetings and make them meaningful. Your ability to lead will be estimated by your ability to organize and run a meeting.
- Give positive or developmental feedback.
- Learn to handle difficult employees.
- Delegate tasks and the authority associated to the task accordingly to achieve results faster and more effectively. Delegating also helps to save up your time for higher priorities a tasks.
Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others is a clear and methodical how-to book that does not only define leadership but also shares tips on how to become a “Catalyst Leader” and how to withstand challenging situations that most first-time leaders encounter. I largely recommend it to introverted, shy, unexpected leaders who don’t always know how to navigate office politics along to women who are ambitious but not confident in ther leadership skills.
For my part, as an introvert and a woman, I have been in three unofficial leadership positions that started successfully but ended in failure. Before reading this book, I was not able to pinpoint my weaknesses nor able to fix my situation.
Your First Leadership Job has been resourceful, reassuring and has given me hope that I can still pursue my journey towards leadership. I now have a positive perspective on my experiences. As a result, I am currently learning how to earn my team’s trust, convey a message and share a vision with my team.
“Catalyst leaders represent the gold standard—energetic, supportive, forward-thinking mentors who spark action in others”.
Earlier in this book we pointed out that what makes you a successful leader may have nothing to do with what made you successful in the past. The challenges you face as a leader are much different—and they can be extra tough.