Before graduating from college, I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant (2LT) in the United States Army. It was an exciting day for myself and my family. 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 graduation, we packed up our Datsun hatchback and headed off to Colorado. Upon my arrival at the arsenal, I was informed by my boss that I would be the Deputy Director. The Executive Director was my boss, and I would oversee all laboratory operations. He shared what my responsibilities would be, and his expectations for me. During that conversation, my head was spinning…
As I sat in my vehicle in the parking lot preparing to leave, I thought to myself “I have a fancy title, access to two secretaries, and more than 100 civilian scientists to lead. In addition, the Director of Laboratory Operations reported directly to me.” All I could think was “WOW. How are you going to do this?”
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.
How do I lead a person twice my age and who has forgotten more than I learned in college?
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.
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.
Over the next 20 years of my career, I assumed numerous positions, however, I never forgot the lessons learned in my first leadership role.
So how do you ensure success? Listed below are 10 principles I use for leadership success:
- 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
I have learned these principles through my first career and they have served me well in my second and third careers. For me, they have been priceless.
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 things the way you always have, after all, you were just promoted?
“Each time I assumed a new position, I would add a new skill to my toolbox.“-Dr. Kim Moore
What principles will you use to ensure your success as a leader?
Click HERE to learn more about principles for leadership success!