Should I take this role? This was the question facing one of my clients. They were very successful in their current role and they were ready for bigger things. The new role was a challenge for sure. The function was experiencing turnover and the environment was stressful and politically charged. Peers advised my client to run a mile. “It isn’t worth the risk. What if you fail? Better to stay safe.”
Willing to risk it all?
I see this situation frequently. It requires a leap of faith. Being willing to take a risk, to tarnish what you’ve worked so hard to achieve. This happened to me a couple of times in my career and I was too naïve to see what I was stepping into. One situation turned out extremely well, the other was something of a disaster. Fortunately I was bailed out when another job I had been promised opened up and I could transfer into it, before too much harm was done.
My client decided to ignore the naysayers and take the new role. It was an opportunity to learn new skills, not least how to lead through a crisis. We discussed it would be very tough, and despite the challenges, they persevered and succeeded in the role. More importantly, they grew their leadership skills, setting themselves up for a bigger future role.
Keys to success
Preparation was a big reason for their success. They did three things very well.
#1 – They set their expectations appropriately. It would be difficult and there will be times they will lose confidence.
#2 – They set clear boundaries about how much they would put into the role. Situations like these can take so much they overwhelm you, as you work yourself into the ground. That doesn’t help anyone.
#3 – They set up a support network of people who had been successful in this type of situation. Most importantly, they used it to help them grow the necessary skills.
These may seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised how often one or all are missing when taking a leap of faith starting a new role.