Transitioning into a senior leadership role isn’t always a comfortable journey. As a mid-level or executory manager, you are responsible for managing employees and resources to achieve specific operative or organizational goals. As you move to a more senior or administrative level of management, your vision must broaden as your influence expands. Incorporating the tips detailed below from serial entrepreneur Jason Kulpa into your management style will demonstrate that you are prepared for the senior position’s challenges. Jason’s advice comes from experience and can smooth this often-tricky change.
Keep the big picture in mind
Train yourself to look past the details of problems and opportunities. For a senior manager, the “how will we get there” questions are not as important as the “where are we going” vision. You may find this difficult at first, especially if you’re a hands-on type of person.
Learn to trust your subordinates. Allow them to be creative in finding ways to reach the goals you have set for the organization. Have the courage to think “out of the box” and resist the temptation to think of reasons why your ideas will not work.
By this point in your career, you are aware of the value of team collaboration. Now it’s your turn to help others understand the importance of working together to achieve goals. The opposite of collaboration, working in silos, is dangerous and introduces unnecessary expense risk to the organization.
People working in silos often get a false sense of their indispensability. Unfortunately, they can come to believe that without them, the business will fail. No one — not even you — should be so essential that the company can’t thrive without you.
Collaboration draws from the best of every team member to create a result better than any individual on the team could produce alone. Promote cross-departmental or cross-divisional communication and idea-sharing. Develop composite teams with representatives from across all segments of the business.
As a senior leader, your role is no longer to “fix problems,” instead, your job is to avoid them. As captain of the ship, you must steer clear of any dangerous reefs, not focus on fixing damage from the last collision. This is a paradigm shift for many managers and can be challenging to achieve.
Use the wisdom and experience you have gained over your career to search the horizon for possible hazards. Proactively set a course that will avoid mistakes of the past and unforeseen challenges.
In an environment where senior management is respected and even revered, it is easy to come to believe that you have all the answers. If you find yourself thinking that way, understand that you are suffering from a lack of feedback. Subordinates will be hesitant to speak openly or criticize your plans, but you need them to.
Create an environment where line managers feel comfortable speaking up, stating their opinion, and making suggestions for improvement. Encourage them to have a voice. Learn from what they tell you. They can offer a perspective that you may not have in your position.
Set a positive tone
A leader sets the tone for the entire organization. If you want your employees to feel optimistic about their jobs and the organization they work for, it all starts with you. If you choose to be cynical or pessimistic, those outlooks will trickle down to even the newest employees. Even your customers and vendors will sense it, and your company’s reputation will reflect it.
About Jason Kulpa
Jason Kulpa is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of UE.co, San Diego’s Fastest Growing Business multi-year award winner, and a Certified Great Place to Work multi-year winner. Jason Kulpa is a San Diego’s two-time winner of the Most Admired CEO Award of the San Diego Business Journal and a semi-finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur award. Under Mr. Kulpa’s leadership, in 2018, his teams volunteered at over 24 events and worked side-by-side to improve the San Diego community. They hosted a gala dinner benefiting individuals with autism, cheered on Special Olympic athletes as they broke their records on the track, and brought school supplies and cold-weather gear to students impacted by homelessness. Jason’s mission is to bring awareness, support, and inclusion for special needs causes.