I have been lucky to be promoted, but I am finding my new role challenging –what advice can you give me?

BY THE OFFICE COACH - MAY 20, 2016

Firstly, acknowledge that you must be equipped for the new role or you would not have been promoted. Others often see our potential before we do. Trust that you have the right attitude and resources to develop the skills needed in this new role. Believe in yourself!

It is important that you have a positive attitude towards the challenges so that they do not become something insurmountable. Appreciate the challenges you are faced with; they can help you in so many ways.

Appreciation doesn't mean you will enjoy the challenge, it means you recognise its value. Think back on other challenges you have overcome in the past. With hindsight, you will see that (if managed correctly) challenges give you a great opportunity for learning, growing and improvement.

We sometimes shy away from challenge because we’re worried we’ll fail or it will be stressful. We also get tired of constant and relentless challenges. Make sure that you know what your approach is to the various challenges you are faced with. Do you want to master them? The answer needs to be a resounding “yes” if any sustained improvement is going to be achieved.  

Before you do anything, check how others perceive your performance. You may not have an objective view; and may be demanding too much of yourself when others perceive your performance as satisfactory. Remember to seek feedback from those who know what is expected of you and who have an interest in developing your skills.

They are the people who will give you constructive feedback. Ask them questions about specific performance areas and give them an opportunity to speak freely; don’t be defensive and insist that they be brutally honest with you. Identify areas you feel you are struggling and ask why you think you are challenged and identify what success in this area looks like.

Observe and analyse situations by looking at the facts. Your ability to deal with the challenges of your new role and others’ perception of your performance. Based on that and the resources available, decide the best approach and create a plan of action. Look at ways to manage your role.

Perhaps there is a person who could mentor you? Or can you get step-by-step instructions for routine aspects of your role? Do you need to manage your stress levels through relaxation techniques? Can you delegate to others so that you can focus on managing the more challenging aspects of your role? Trust in yourself and believe that you can master the situation.

Talk your concerns through with someone objective and trustworthy. When you speak your mind and discuss your challenges with someone you trust, something shifts: you’re able to see possibilities that weren’t obvious before. This in itself will make you feel less challenged.

Acknowledge what you cannot change; it frees you to focus your efforts on areas where you can have an impact. Trying to change the unchangable can be frustrating, painful and draining on your energy levels.

Start now: procrastination only makes things worse. Divide what you find challenging into smaller, more manageable components and tackle those in order of impact and importance. Track your improved ability to master the challenges of your new role. As you achieve small successes, celebrate them.

Acknowledge new skills gained or situations mastered. Your confidence will grow and so will your ability to master the bigger challenges.

Author Dan Pink in his book Drive highlights research showing that one of the things people want most in their careers is the opportunity for “mastery”.  And mastery arises from challenge: you get better at things when you put yourself into situations where you have to stretch yourself. So tackle your new role head on with the confidence that you have what it takes!

For more on facing challenges in the workplace, contact [email protected]