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DC Professional Development Series: Navigating Leadership in a New Role

In light of the rapidly evolving economy, the prospect of job changes can bring about a sense of uncertainty for many. However, this changing landscape also offers an exciting opportunity to embrace leadership positions in unfamiliar contexts as industries continue to transform. As someone who has navigated numerous transitions, I have been fortunate to experience invaluable personal growth through taking on leadership roles in uncharted territories. In my 5 years out of college, I have held positions as a teacher and program developer for middle school students in South Korea, as a production associate and editor on commercial sets in New York City, and now, as a project manager in the policy sphere at Brumidi Group.

In each of these positions, in order to adapt to unfamiliar environments and flourish as an effective leader, I’ve needed to step beyond my comfort zone, fight through self-doubt, and embrace the adventure of a new role. Here are three essential strategies to help navigate leadership in new roles:

Fight imposter syndrome: Recognize. Reframe. (be) Realistic. When taking on a leadership position, especially in an unfamiliar role, this pressure can certainly trigger imposter syndrome - with up to 82% of people reporting that they have experienced it at some point in their careers. We question whether we are good enough, if we can do well, and if we are meant to be in the spaces we find ourselves. First, recognizing these feelings as completely normal can be grounding and help to clear a path forward. Additionally, reframing negative thoughts is essential. By actively acknowledging our achievements, skills, and strengths, we fuel ourselves with the confidence to take the reins of leadership in a new position. Finally, setting realistic expectations for ourselves and practicing self-compassion will provide space for us to make mistakes and learn.

Embrace a Growth Mindset. In every new role, approaching leadership with humility and a willingness to learn is essential to becoming the best leader in the context of a new role. We may have leadership qualities that we’ve developed from past experiences, but our skills are not fixed. New jobs require new knowledge sets, navigating new work cultures, and building new relationships. What’s most important is to understand that leadership is an ongoing journey of learning and development. It is vital to embrace and enjoy that journey - you can and will learn what is needed to thrive in your role. Ask questions, be open to receiving feedback, and continuously seek to develop your skills.

Focus on people. Building strong relationships is the single-most important part of being a leader. In every industry I’ve ventured in and in every role, getting to know the team helped me become a more effective leader and made the learning experience more enjoyable. Understanding what drives team members, their expectations and requirements, and how they make decisions is crucial for building trust and encouraging collaboration. In the process of getting to know your team, don’t forget to be your authentic self so that the relationship extends both ways. In the end, your relationship with your team will not only make or break how impactful you are as a leader, but will influence your overall job satisfaction.

By incorporating these strategies, I have discovered the immense potential for personal and professional growth that lies within new embracing leadership roles. At Brumidi Group, we’d love to help you do the same. Our entire team stands ready to assist anyone in the job market looking for advice, guidance, resume development, or with help leveraging our network. Feel free to reach out!


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