The most difficult job in the professional life of any leader may very well be that first role…when he or she moves from individual contributor to suddenly being responsible for the outcomes of others.
For those of you who lived through it, you know that the experience can be uncomfortable, awkward, and even a bit intimidating. Of course, most first-time leaders have a caring, nurturing coach in the form of their direct manager, standing by to help and guide through the difficult patches, right? Wrong!!
In my own work for my book with Rich Petro, Practical Lessons in Leadership, the feedback was loud and clear:
- Most first-time leaders earned their position more by accident than plan.
- A majority of these first-time leaders indicate that they did not receive adequate support from their manager.
Additional research offers that there’s a tremendous first-time leader flame-out problem, with many of these accidental and under-supported professionals flailing and failing in their initial role. That’s not good for anyone…the individual, the team members or the organization.
This truly critical issue receives some much needed attention in the recent book, From Bud to Boss-Secrets to a Successful Transition to Remarkable Leadership by consultants, authors and leadership experts, Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris. While the focus is on helping the first time leader successfully transition from one of the gang to leader, this book is equally important for those responsible for developing and supporting first-time leaders.
Enjoy this high-energy conversation with Kevin Eikenberry.