EM 190 | How to Approach Your First time as a Leader


In this week’s Executive Minds, David, Jeff, and Shane discuss how to approach your first time as a leader. You might be thinking that this doesn’t apply to you since you’ve been a leader for many years. But perhaps you’re taking on a new leadership role after many years in the same position. Whether it’s starting a company, changing organizations or kicking off new projects, it might be helpful to hear some reminders, recollections and tested wisdom for how to proceed and make the most out of your new role. As always, we want to position you for success. We hope this conversation is as enlightening for you as it was for the team. Thanks for tuning in!

Links + Resources


Three Takeaways:

Learn from Experience, But Don’t Lean Into It

We all draw on our experience. There are certain strategies and principles that are true throughout the end of time. But if you rely on or lean into them wholeheartedly then you’ll stifle growth and innovations. Make sure that you come to your new leadership opportunity with open hands, hearts and mind. If you learn from, but not lean into experience then you’re still inspired to seek new approaches. You won’t be robbed of innovation and be tempted to just hit the “repeat” button. For this reason, be sure to learn from experience, but not lean into it.

Embrace True Vulnerability

Dr. Laura describes vulnerability as “the opportunity to share something with someone that they could use against you ultimately.” In the context of leadership, it’s the ability to share with your team your anxieties, fears or concerns in a transparent manner. Whether you’re a first time leader or in a new role of leadership, it’s natural to feel some reservations. Don’t run from it. Lean into that feeling of not knowing. Acknowledge that it’s going to take some time for you to grow into this position. This should make you more apt to speak less and listen more. Free yourself from the notion that you have to be perfect. The little known secret is that your honesty and vulnerability will actually make others want to follow you more. It engenders trust. People find it refreshing. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. There’s power in true vulnerability.

First-time Leader Checklist

Here’s a list of ideas/thoughts for you to use as a new leader to wrap your head around a new challenge or opportunity: Have a vision for where you want to lead. Ask your team ‘how are you doing?’ as much as “what are you doing?”. Script the first 90 days of your leadership. Think of the 3 I’s. (1. What is it I need to be informed of? 2. Where do I need to be involved? 3. Where do I need to influence?). Be sure to ask your team their hopes and dreams. Find a good balance of offering support and challenges. Create a communication plan. These were just a few of the many things you should be mindful of to build out your leadership checklist.