Mel Savage Executive Coaching
Career Vision

My Best Advice for New Leaders

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Here is my best advice for all new leaders out there (and slightly less new ones too) to help you transition from a highly valuable doer to a highly valuable leader.

It happened again yesterday.

I was coaching a massively bright, accomplished capable person who had worked their way up to a big time leadership position.

They were struggling to adapt to their role as a new leader.

And that struggle was making them question their capability to be successful.

They’re used to thinking they’re great at their job, but now they’re worried they’re not so great.

And I don’t exaggerate when I say that for many people, not feeling valuable in your role can feel like an existential crisis.

‘Cos when you start thinking you’re not so great… guess what happens?

You start acting not so great.

Then things at work get not so great.

And you start feeling less and less great.

But I want you to know something.

You are still great.

You’re still incredibly smart. And capable.

You simply lose sight of your greatness once in a while.

You just need help leveraging that greatness a little differently so you can be successful in this new role.

And that’s why I love what I do.

I get to coach highly capable and talented people to continue to believe in themselves as they become highly-valued leaders.

I get to mentor them on what makes a leader valuable, and how to practice that in their daily worklife.

I get to help them see what’s in their way so they can easily become the leader they want to be.

And most importantly, I get to make sure incredibly bright, talented people make it through the leadership transition and achieve their career aspirations.

No person left behind.

So this week, I want to offer my new leaders out there (and slightly less new ones too) my best advice to help you transition from a highly valuable doer to a highly valuable leader.

1: Your Value Proposition Is Changing

What will make you a valuable leader is not what made you a valuable doer.

The classic mistake so many new leaders make is you double down on what made you a valuable doer. You continue to try to know everything. You try to control the way everything is done. You think you need to have all the answers for their team and everyone else.

That’s the old value proposition.

Your new value proposition is not about creating results. It’s about creating the environment for results to happen. And that means building relationships, managing and influencing the organization, creating vision and growing the capacity of your team to think critically.

2: Slow Things Down

You’re used to going fast. You can operate with focus and intensity and get things done.

But now you’re scaling your impact which means, it’s not all about how YOU do things anymore. It’s about how you effectively orchestrate and influence how things get done.

Influence and orchestration take more time than if you just sit at your desk and pound out the work.

Don’t get frustrated by that. Embrace this new pace. The more you’re willing to slow down to engage stakeholders, collaborate with peers or help your people think, the more you build your trust bank. And that will help you be both more effective and efficient in the future.

3: You’ve Already Proven Yourself

The mistake I see a lot of new leaders make (or people starting a new job), is they think they need to prove themselves quickly.

Now, I agree demonstrating your value is a good strategy. But when you do it with a ‘I must prove myself’ energy, you get really graspy, needy and dare I say, even a little desperate for approval and recognition. That can cause the need to overwork and over-judge yourself and others.

It’s not a good look and is the opposite of demonstrating your value.

Instead, remember you’ve already proven yourself. You’ve already got the job. Now just go in there and focus on being the best version of leader you can be in each individual situation, and let them accumulate over time.

Remember, big impact is the result of a consistent stream of little impacts.

4: Self-trust is more important than ever

Making mistakes is uncomfortable for almost everyone. It takes years of practice before making a mistake doesn’t feel ‘dangerous’. And often times, the most dangerous thing about it is what you say to yourself when you make a mistake.

But remember this…

You didn’t get this leadership role because you never failed. You got this leadership role because you demonstrated your ability to figure things out and get them back on track.

You are a master of figuring things out. And you can trust that.

So when things go sideways (and they will), you have the option of not beating yourself up, chalking it up to experience and trusting that you’ll figure it out.

Bottom line: Leadership a different job than the one you’ve been doing.

So if you’re a new leader, you need new strategies for creating value. But don’t worry. You don’t need them all today. Start with one shift at a time and in a year from now, your value proposition will be transformed.


I have 20+ years working as a leader in the corporate world. I know what you need to do. And I combine that with four years of training as a cognitive behavioral coach. I know how to help you naturally think like the leader you want to be.

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The job of a leader is completely different than the job you were doing before you became a leader. I figured it out the hard way. You don’t have to.
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