You’re in the Chair, Now What?

10 Principles for Leadership Success

Before graduating from college, I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant (2LT) in the United States Army. Like my colleagues, I was both excited and scared to assume my first leadership position.


While most of my classmates were assigned to traditional military units, my first duty station was Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA), a Chemical Storage Facility located outside of Denver, Colorado.

After graduating, we packed up our Datsun hatchback and headed off to Colorado. Upon my arrival at the arsenal, I was informed that I would be the Deputy Director. The Executive Director was my boss and I would oversee all laboratory operations. I had a fancy title, access to two secretaries, and over 100 civilians scientist to lead. In addition, the Director of Laboratory Operations, reported directly to me.

How do I lead a person twice my age and who has forgotten more than I learned in college?

I was a 20-year-old 2nd Lieutenant supervising a gentleman old enough to be my grandfather. In fact, the Director of Laboratory Operations had a granddaughter named Kim, who was my age. He began working at the arsenal before I was born.

I was in the chair! But I didn’t have a clue on what to do. Well, the Director of Laboratory Operations was not only a very smart gentleman but also a kind man. He knew I was in over my head but he never challenged or try to undermine my position. He modeled 360° leadership for me.

The Director of Laboratory Operations understood John Maxwell’s principle of “leading up.” Our Monday meetings became coaching sessions and during our weekly walk-through I would practice what I learned. He taught me how to effectively communicate at different levels.

Each time I assumed a new position I would add a new skill to my tool box.

Congratulations! You’re an aspiring, emerging or experienced leader and you just assumed a new leadership position. You’re in unfamiliar territory! Where do you begin? Do you continue to do the things the way you always have, after all, you were just promoted? According to Marshall Goldsmith “What got you here, won’t get you there.”

So how do you ensure success? Listed below are 10 principles I use:

  • Align your Priorities
  • Transfer your Vision
  • Manage your Brand
  • Dress for Success
  • Develop Your Inner Circle
  • Manage Stakeholder Expectations
  • Become an Influencer
  • Lead with Confidence
  • Maintain a Growth Mindset
  • Develop a Personal Growth Plan

Leadership is a choice you make, not a place you sit.”
– John Maxwell

Now that you’re in the chair, what principles will you use to ensure your success as a leader?

Your friend,


Dr. Kim Moore

Kim d. moore

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