Navigating Leadership: A Journey of Growth & Compassion

Embarking on a leadership role can be both thrilling and challenging, particularly when you ascend swiftly among your peers. My promotion to Regional Processing Manager in the mortgage industry was a classic tale of being a top performer and subsequently finding myself in a managerial position. The catch? No leadership training, just the title, and the expectation to figure things out.

During my initial rounds of 1:1 meetings, a pivotal moment unfolded. An exceptional employee, facing a grueling commute, expressed her desire to transfer to a nearby location. Without hesitation, I supported her. In leading with compassion, I initiated open discussions, understanding the challenges she faced and talking through the steps needed to ensure a smooth transition.

As I navigated the plan with transparency, a sales manager erupted in anger, predicting doom for the team and questioning my leadership abilities. In the face of adversity, I stayed committed to clear communication and transparency, avoiding the quagmire of office gossip. Holding true to principles of humility, firmness, and accountability, the team not only weathered the storm but flourished. The transferring employee found success in her new role, closer to her family.

For those stepping into leadership, especially over former peers, here are some key lessons:

  1. Communicate Clearly and Transparently: Share your vision, plans, and changes transparently to foster trust.
  2. Be Humble: Acknowledge that leadership is a journey of growth, and humility paves the way for collaboration.
  3. Value 1:1 Time: Invest in one-on-one interactions to understand individual aspirations and challenges.
  4. Stay Above Gossip: Steer clear of office gossip; focus on building a positive and supportive team culture.
  5. Be Firm yet Understanding: Balance firm leadership with empathy; understand the challenges your team faces.
  6. Hold Accountable: Foster accountability without resorting to public callouts, ensuring a culture of responsibility.

Navigating leadership is about learning from experiences, adapting, and fostering a positive environment where both the team and individuals can thrive. Share your leadership journey and lessons learned; you’re not alone.

Author

Amanda

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