Transition Hurdles for LeadersTransition Image

Building a career in leadership involves having critical abilities to adapt and flourish in new work environments.

In a study at the Harvard Business School General Business Program, leaders had an average of 16 years of business experience, had experienced 5.5 promotions, changed bosses an average of every 1.5 years, worked for 2.4 companies, and made 1.5 international moves.

In other words, change is a constant in the quest for higher level leadership.

In the article, The Eight Toughest Transitions for Leaders, Michael D. Watkins, outlines the types of career moves that most executives face.

  • The Promotion Challenge – understanding what success looks like from a different position in the hierarchy. Common issues include focus, delegation, developing leadership competencies and demonstrating presence.
  • The Leading Former Peers Challenge – Challenges include establishing authority and altering existing relationships.
  • The Corporate Diplomacy Challenge – Moving from a position of authority to one in which effectiveness is influenced by building alliances.
  • The On-Boarding Challenge – Joining a new organization and having to adjust to the new culture and politics.
  • The International Challenge – Leading in an unfamiliar culture without past support systems.
  • The Turnaround Challenge – Taking over an organization in deep trouble and determining how to save it.
  • The Realignment Challenge – Confronting an organization that is in denial about the need to change and the urgency that must show in actions to avoid crisis.
  • The Business Portfolio Challenge – Leading an organization in which different parts are in different states of performance.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude;
be kind, but not weak;
be bold, but not bully;
be thoughtful, but not lazy;
be humble, but not timid;
be proud, but not arrogant;
have humor, but without folly.”

Jim Rohn, motivational speaker, philosopher & entrepreneur