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Don't Empower for Failure: 5 Strategies to Help New Leaders Win

It may seem counterintuitive, but many senior leaders inadvertently sabotage the very people they intend to empower. With the best of intentions, seasoned executives often create situations that make it difficult for new leaders and managers to achieve their full potential. This pattern of inadvertent failure generation stems from a desire to help but too often ends in discouragement and frustration for everyone involved.

Fortune 500 Companies, NFL Teams, Schools, Churches, and Nonprofits are notorious for hiring great people & asking them to lead with high expectations in failing structures.

Here are five strategies for new leaders to succeed on your team:

Encourage Peer Mentorship: Pairing new managers can foster camaraderie, knowledge sharing, and problem-solving in a safe space. Encourage external peer relationships if you don’t have another peer role on the team. 

Peer Mentorship provides psychological safety and promotes cross-functioning learning among leaders. By creating such relationships, new leaders will problem-solve faster and learn quicker. This is in addition to the value of building relationships on the often lonely leadership journey. 

Invest in Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Leaders constantly grow in this area. Training for self-awareness, empathy, and relationship management is critical for effective coaching. 

EQ development is not just for "touchy-feely stuff." It allows leaders to make sound strategic decisions under pressure, manage conflict healthily, and lead with integrity. Leaders cannot dissociate their emotional well-being from their spiritual centering. (We utilize GiantOS in our coaching)

Force Lead with Questions: Help new leaders respond with questions instead of answers first. It teaches the role of a developer and encourages collaboration. 

Leaders are the loudest people in the room. They stifle the room's genius if they lead with answers or thoughts instead of questions. Questions are the best tool in the leader's toolbox. (The Coaching Habit is a great resource.)

Create the Feedback Loop: New managers often need help with delivering constructive feedback. Provide them with specific feedback frameworks and role-playing scenarios for practice, and offer your feedback on how they provide feedback to their teams.

The term radical candor has been popularized, but candor or lack thereof only matters if the person on the other side of the table trusts you. Build trust through consistent encouragement and direct challenge. The ratio to direct coaching should be five inputs to 1 direct challenge. (See our One-on-One Guide)

Celebrate the Journey: Recognize their effort, resilience, and learning process alongside achieving results. New leaders usually appear overconfident (underprepared) or insecure (perfectionist). You must be the coach who guides their heart and mind to flourishing. 

Find moments and ways tailored to the new leader to create mile-markers. Remember, you're investing in your greatest “asset,” the organization’s leadership capacity. Create moments to align, reinforce, and empower greater work. 


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