As we work in our professional lives, odds are that sooner or later, we are going to be given more responsibility to deal with. This might come in the form of a promotion, entering a partnership, jumping from supervisor to manager, or perhaps even running your own business of some sort. However, not all of these different jumps require the same approach. Sometimes a different mindset is required. Sometimes, it can pay to understand just how your new role will affect those on your team, or even those in the wider world. For example, it’s all very well to be a junior designer on a team, crafting the products of tomorrow. But if you’re up for the lead designer position, you suddenly realise just how much weight is on your shoulders, as everything emanates from you.
Some people are born leaders. Some are made. Some have everything that it takes, but simply need to focus hard on outfitting themselves for the new role. Dealing with responsibility a new can be a worrying time, particularly if your duties vastly outweigh how you were operating before. For this reason, consider our advice if making this jump, as it should hopefully steer you right:
Impostor syndrome is something that everyone suffers from, even those we consider to be much more accomplished than us. When we reach a level of authority, we realise that we have no authority over us apart from the intended results we hope to arrive at. This can be a shocking revelation to not only intellectually understand, but emotionally feel. The only way out of it is to push even harder to try and prove your competence, and we don’t mean that by blindly rushing into any project you have with a sword drawn. Instead we mean doing your best to learn, to try and understand the fundamental processes that you are now encountering, and to consider yourself a student in the art of your profession. Even if you’re a master at your craft, there are often matters you can improve, such as communication or the ability to dispense morale to your team.
Impostor syndrome takes time to leave. Your only defense against it is to do your absolute best, even if that means defining yourself by your work for some time, seizing opportunity where possible and never letting your pride spur you away from learning something useful.
When we get to a position of authority, we often need to defend that position. This means connecting, networking, learning how to show correct discipline and exercising your authority when it matters. However, it can also mean protecting yourself from failure. The human factor is always going to be a potential problem, and you’re never going to be a perfect worker. This much is absolutely guaranteed. Sometimes, you will fail, and those failures can have an unintended impact. This is where public liability insurance can come in handy (you can view full policy details here,) or learning how blame is disseminated through your organisation can help you learn the best manner of reporting, fixing or replacing the surrounding matters of an issue caused.
When fully protected, you can focus on the implications of your job, or find where the lesson in this lies. Taking responsibility for those under you is often a corrective and admirable trait, but sometimes in the case of extreme negligence, understanding how to best discipline or adjust your team could be considered essential.
When you are given responsibility to deal with, you need to foster the fires of inspiration with much more diligence. While discipline is always better to craft than motivation, there are some who feel they are separate necessities. This is simply incorrect. Dealing with added responsibility is essential in overcoming issues, and sometimes you need the fuel to burn when lifting that load.
If there are people under you, the same things applies. Learning that inspiration is a daily fire to be kindled and not a vessel to be filled can help you continually fall in love with the job you have, see the potential in your responsibility, and be grateful for the opportunity to be in such a position to begin with. It might be you find honor in working for a certain organization, or that you’re proud of the work you’re doing. It might be you’re proud of your personal stamp on the history of a firm or operation, or that you’re simply in love with the work. Without this, responsibility will break the camel’s back rather quickly, so to speak. Find sustainable inspiration. It will see you through.
With these simple tips, dealing with added responsibility should be well taken care of.
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Vinh Van Lam & Stuart Horrex
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