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Whether you've just received a promotion at your current place of work or have accepted a leadership position at a new workplace, preparing in advance will ensure you're best able to meet the challenges of the new job. Corporate leadership entails the dual challenge of managing both your own workload and motivating others to handle theirs at the same time. While most people in a leadership position excel one of those areas, it's the individual who prepares in advance that typically ends up excelling at both. Taking classes or workshops, learning from the person whose position you're taking over, and anticipating the challenges you'll face are good ways to begin preparing to be a leader.
One of the best ways to prepare for a leadership position is to sign up for a course, retreat, or seminar that coaches participants in the art of leadership. These types of courses and events are usually organized by the chamber of commerce or business colleges, and offer helpful instruction on such skills as how to motivate a team, how to give constructive criticism, and how to lead by example. If you've never held a leadership position before, consider reading up on some of the practical responsibilities entailed in a management job, such as conducting performance reviews and mediating inter-office conflicts. Tips on effective leadership practices are also available on DVDs and especially on the Internet, where you can sign up for any number of corporate leadership newsletters for free.
If you're filling a leadership position that's being vacated by another individual, try to glean as much information as you can from that person during your training period. Ask as many questions as possible, and arrange to get some contact information from the person leaving the position — even if it's only an email address. Down the road, you may find that another person's perspective on aspects of the position are an invaluable source of information. If you're filling a newly-created leadership position that no other individual has held before, you should feel free to establish the processes that you think best suit the position. Whether these entail weekly staff meetings, team building exercises, or one-on-one meetings with department heads, you should form an idea early on of which processes you'd like to implement.
People preparing for leadership positions should anticipate opposition from their subordinates. If you've been promoted and find yourself in a position where you'll be overseeing former colleagues, it can help to brace yourself for changes in the attitudes of people around you. Individuals who are new to an organization and immediately start in a leadership role also tend to be on the receiving end of resentment. In any case, the best way to deal with any ill feelings other people may express toward your position is to chalk it up to office politics rather than taking it personally.
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