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Your First Leadership Job: How Catalyst Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others by Tacy M. Byham, Richard S. Wellins

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Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.

Jack Welch

3Navigating the Transition to LeadershipThe Mind-Set You Need to Succeed

When Mary described how she felt about her first leadership job, she repeatedly used the same term: “off-center.”

Occasionally, she adjusted it to “totally off-center” or “completely off-center.” But the outcome was the same. Mary's first eight months as a leader made her realize how unprepared she was. She had moved from a production job to a sales function, with no prior sales experience, and she was managing others for the first time. An all-male team of 12! A female leader was a rarity in the male-dominated culture of chemical engineering, though Mary didn't have time to enjoy the sound of the glass ceiling shattering. Instead, she found herself eye-to-eye with an unhappy rival. One of her new team members had been groomed for the job she now had, and was none too happy about losing out. To make matters worse, the previous boss had been beloved by the team. How could Mary possibly fill his shoes? That dizzy, off-center feeling was her constant awareness of being in a totally unfamiliar landscape without the tools to navigate clear.

In Chapter 1 we mentioned our research on the stress associated with transition to a leadership role. Remember? Stress levels ranked somewhere between personal illness and raising a teenager. Do any of Mary's stressors sound familiar? ...

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