There are several triggers why you may want to transition to a new leadership style. One trigger might be the organizational needs have evolved, and a unique leadership style is required to move the organization or team to the next level. Maybe you have learned some skills to become a better leader but need to cast aside some of your old leadership habits. Evolving to a new leadership style doesn’t happen overnight. When moving to a unique leadership style, knowing how to make a leadership transition is needed.
The first step is to understand what you are changing in how you direct and influence your team. This introspection is necessary before you move to the next phase of the process. Catalog what you will continue to do and what you will do differently in situations that require you to direct or influence your team.
The next step is to be transparent with your intentions. Your team has learned to expect specific actions and behaviors from you in different situations. To abruptly change how you respond or connect with them instantly can create concern or confusion. To avoid this disruption, tell them what you are doing and why. Help them to understand what is changing and why but more importantly, be very clear as to what their role and responsibilities will be as you learn to deliver on your new leadership style. Also, be very clear what you see as the benefits of this change for the team, the organization, and you.
Next, consistently ask for feedback from your staff to understand better how they are being affected by this shifting leadership culture. Leadership is about the team and not the leader and indicates their leadership needs to reimagined.
Don’t seek perfection, but ask for forgiveness. Your team has learned behaviors and responses from the diverse experiences they have shared, and these behaviors and habits are slow to change. When you revert to an old pattern or response, admit to your error and ask for forgiveness. Adapting your leadership style will require you to relearn a lot of habits; give yourself time to make these changes.
Trust your team to give you the forgiveness and confidence you need to make this significant transition.