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Aunty B’s Top 10: Leadership

James Thomson /

Dear Aunty B,

I have just received notice that I am moving from a COO role to running the show, with 15 staff members to manage. Yes, I am chuffed, excited and you can doff your cap off to me Aunty.

So here is my question: What is the single biggest question/consideration/thing I should be asking myself?

I know I won’t have a second to think as soon as I step into the role. So I want to think about it now. And yes, I have just had a few congratulatory drinks to celebrate. But right now I want to know how to rise to this huge challenge and make myself (and the company) proud.

Dean

Dear Dean,

A few drinks? I think you typed that standing on your head with your big toe. Fortunately our trusty sub editor Emma has made sense of this, and better still, I have the answer.

Here it is. The biggest question you need to ask yourself is this: what behaviour do I need to let go of, that has probably served me well, but will now hold me back?

Yep. That’s it. But it is no good asking yourself you goof head because in your exultant frame of mind you will come up with a big fat zero. This is a question you must ask others, and do it quickly, because your lovely, curious, open and slightly drunken state of mind is likely to close very soon before the alcohol wears off or you get sucked into the CEO black hole of “day to day”.

So what are some of the things you might need to let go of?

Micromanaging? Everyone micro manages so don’t tell me you don’t. Is it going to kill you to give that person full responsibility for their figures? Hmm? Feeling like you are losing control? Well, there’s another thing you need to look at. Often managers get to the top because they are great at execution and are used to great control, but when you move to CEO level of an almost medium-sized business it is impossible to maintain that level of control or you will explode. (And yes mistakes will be made but that’s not going to kill you.)

The other thing you must do is make a list of the things you must develop. You must undertake the project of making yourself into a CEO very seriously. Study personal styles of CEOPs you admire. Read their speeches. Study their business models. Look at how they create strategy. Better still, join CEO groups where you can actually meet them and ask them questions directly.

Lastly, I can’t doff my cap as I am not a commie or a jockey but let a virtual high five take its place instead.

Be smart,
Your Aunty B

 

 

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James Thomson

James was the editor and publisher of SmartCompany and LeadingCompany for five years. He is now the Australian Financial Review's companies & markets editor, and a former BRW editor.

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