There’s a myth out there in the business world that the view’s always better from the top.
It’s the corporate version of “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
We work so hard to climb the ladder in our careers. To do great work. To gain more influence. To show the world what we’re made of.
And sometimes, once we get to the top…we realize we don’t love the view like we thought we would.
We miss our old roles, our old responsibilities, our old peers. We now have to delegate the tasks that filled us with so much joy and sense of accomplishment.
So, how do you make peace with your new leadership role, when you’re no longer doing the work you love every day?
Is your new role the right fit?
It’s completely normal to feel resistance when you step into a new leadership role. Sometimes it’s part of the process, and other times it’s truly not the right fit for you.
Let me put on my coaching hat for a minute and give you some questions to help you get clear. Answer honestly and accept whatever insight comes:
How satisfied are you where you are? What is that level of satisfaction based on?
What’s working and what’s not?
What’s holding you back from fully embracing your new role?
What are the gremlins in your head telling you? How much objective truth is there in what the gremlins are saying?
What do you ultimately want to achieve in your career? Is your current role pointing you in that direction?
How comfortable and competent are you in your new role? How much is fear driving your discontentment?
Look at your answers. What other questions come to mind? What are the answers telling you?
If you’re dealing with garden variety resistance…
If your new role is ultimately where you want to be, you need to adopt a new leadership perspective.
There’s no quick fix for this. It takes time. When my business first started to grow, it was very difficult for me to let go of certain tasks. After all, The Painefree Group is my baby, and I couldn’t help but think that no one could do things like I would. Heck, half the time I didn’t even know how I would want to do them.
But our growth strategy was bigger than me. We aspire to be hailed as a “best places to work.” Can’t really do that if I’m the only one working! So I had to learn to let go.
As leaders, it’s common to feel like we need to do everything ourselves.
But here’s the reality: You’re sitting in a seat now that’s bigger than you.
Now, you need to focus on legacy.
You have a team that can benefit from your expertise. Rather than working your fingers to the bone, you can pour your information and knowledge into the people who report to you.
You can essentially clone yourself by teaching others, thereby increasing the capacity of the organization. Understand you’re not giving up the work, you’re just doing it differently and more effectively to reach your vision.
If you realize you want to step down…
Just because you made it to the top of the ladder doesn’t mean you should stay there.
In the end, success is being happy. You deserve to contribute at the level you want to, which may not be at the top.
If you truly miss your old role, I’m not convinced that you should let it go, because that’s part of who you are. If you’re working against your skill set and strengths, you may want to explore restructuring options.
You might have to step down to step up…and that’s okay.
Remember, you have the right to change your mind. The beauty of where you are now is that you have the power to change your position.
So start exploring that option. Be open to the possibility that you may be happier stepping down so you can do the work you love again.
The good news is that whatever you decide, you have options. Whether you learn to embrace your new role or restructure so you’re in a position that’s a better fit, it’s all good!
Trust yourself, listen to yourself, and decide what will take you to “the next right thing.”
Have you ever felt resistance when you stepped into a new role (or are you feeling it right now)? What helped you get through it? Did you stay in the new position or did you step into another role that was a better fit?
Being a leader affects every part of you. It helps to have someone to lean on to stay balanced, on-track, and moving forward with the goals that matter to you.
That’s exactly what a coach is for. Executive coaching is all about listening deeply and asking the right questions to guide you to the answers you need.
To learn more about what a coach is (and what a coach isn’t,) and the six-step process we use to help you reach your goals, download my free e-book Confessions of an Unfulfilled Workaholic: How Coaching Helped Me Crush My Fears and Create the Life I Always Wanted. You’ll also hear more of my personal story and how working with a coach helped me embrace the bigger plan for my life.