Leader of the Pack - With Position Comes Responsibility


The HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes on the freeway are typically for cars with two or more people. But there are a few hours when you can use the lane if you are by yourself. You pay a fee using your toll tag called an EZ tag. You are allowed to do this outside of the high traffic hours of 5-6 in the evening and 7-8 in the morning during the work week. Depending on the time you enter the HOV lane, you pay a higher fee the closer it is to the rush hour.

I love driving on the HOV lane when I am at the head of the pack. You are separated from all of the traffic on the regular highway and have your own private lane. I've always said that if you are the leader of the pack you need to make sure you are going at least as fast as the freeway traffic we are avoiding. Sometimes I am behind someone who isn't driving at least as fast as the speed limit and it can be a little frustrating because we paid a fee for the privilege of moving faster.

The other day I had just entered the HOV and there was a car ahead of me in the lane. They appeared to be matching the speed limit but flashed their brake lights as we headed up over the first overpass. Much to my surprise, they pulled over to the side so that I could pass. Freedom! At the head of the pack again.

When we become a leader of the team (pack) it is important to take on the responsibilities. There are a few key strategies you need to be aware of.

Just like the first person on the HOV with no one in front of them, you need to accept your position of leader. If you don't know where you are going, what to do or what the rules are of the position - you need to find out. As a new manager or supervisor, accept the position and responsibilities that come with it. If you don't set expectations for the team, act appropriately or address issues in a timely manner among others, you won't be respected or be able to manage effectively. 

A lot changes when you are promoted. The relationships between your former co-workers and bosses and your responsibilities are two important changes. Take the time in the beginning to think about areas where you need to set boundaries so that you are ready for situations when they arise. One is how will you behave around former co-workers you now supervise and another is responding to behaviors such as tardiness - what is too late? Be clear on your expectations and follow through on check-ins.

Understanding the communication styles of yourself and your team as well as developing relationships at levels you might not have before, especially with higher ups, are key considerations. 

Like the woman that moved over to let me pass, sometimes you have to take action and resolve an issue. Other times you can listen and stay aware but not overload your things to do list. 

When given the responsibility of leader - it is a risk to not take some of the steps detailed above. I wish you success on your journey onward an upward. Give me a call or an email (margaret@ideasandbeyond.com) if you would like assistance in your new role!