Being part of a high performing team and technically skillful demands certain qualities and attributes. However, for those who wish to jump to the next level and become a leader, the game changes dramatically.
Having the opportunity to work with newly appointed leaders and high potential professionals in Thailand, I am in a fortunate position to gain real insight into some of the very common psychological challenges that are faced by highly talented Thais who make the leap from team player to team leader. I would like to share these insights along with possible solutions that can increase the chances of a successful transition.
Assertiveness: Thai society and culture places great value on building and maintaining smooth relationships. Although there are many positive aspects to this, it can sometimes inhibits individuals from asserting themselves or speaking out with confidence. New leaders need to be given the opportunity and guidance to develop their assertiveness and be reassured that assertiveness is necessary in order to be an effective leader. Mentoring from good role models certainly helps!
Developing confidence as a leader: For many, moving into a leadership role produces a lot of uncertainty. Leaders tend to work in the grey area where situations, challenges and decisions are rarely as straight forward or black or white. Being faced with leadership dilemmas and responsibilities can be a lonely place for both inexperienced and experienced professionals. New leaders need time to develop their confidence. They need assurance and regular feedback to assist them in their growth.
Burn out and stress: Its not uncommon for new leaders to be under continual amounts of building stress. Micromanaging or losing complete control of a project are some of the key symptoms that indicate a new manager/leader is struggling. New leaders need to be monitored and given support with time management, delegating tasks and communicating effectively.
Fear: With the burden of extra responsibility, fear of failure, disappointing others or receiving negative feedback can put the new leader under tremendous amount of pressure. Mistakes are an important part of the learning curve, new leaders need to be given a safe environment and opportunities to make decisions with calculated risks and given constructive feedback on how to develop and improve.
No Call for help! Feelings of looking incompetent or not being able to do the job can sometimes inhibit new leaders for asking for assistance or support. It is important that new leaders are encouraged and invited to ask for help and support when they need it.