The most successful leaders find their greatest challenges when facing transitions in their career. Whether they’ve leapt into the role of an executive leader or spent years working towards the position, the greatest challenge is learning to adapt. A leadership role is demanding and stressful, and often new transitions can make the position even more difficult. The Harvard Business Review examines the three transitions every leader goes through, that can often lead to failure if not tackled correctly. To be successful, it’s imperative to know these three transitions and how to overcome them.

 
Moving into the role of leadership

The initial move into leadership is something even the best struggle with. Even after years of working up to this role, most find themselves overwhelmed. With fear of failure looming over this new and demanding position, leaders struggle to adapt. Often unprepared for such a leap, about 50-60% of these leaders fail with the first 18 months. Keeping up with the new pace and knowing how to delegate work that needs to be done are obstacles every leader must learn to overcome.

Taking on a leadership role can be difficult, but there are ways to make it a successful transition. Feedback is a sure tool to help you during this time. It’s not enough to listen to feedback, you must also actively seek it out. Know the areas you feel uneasy in and ask for advice from mentors or other team leaders. Their support and feedback will overall strengthen your chances as a leader and to be successful.

Organization transformation

Transforming an organization is inevitable and a difficult transition. As the leader, your team looks to you for guidance in this time of change. A common organizational change is a merger. Often times when a merger takes place, some leaders are overpowered by other executives and are soon at loss of power. Other times when an organization is faced with change, leaders are unwilling to adapt and fail to see when this transition is for the better of the organization.

In order to have a successful transformation, as a leader you must get ahead of the change. Understand why the change needs to happen and communicate the role you will be taking on during this change. Communication is key in this transition. Be clear of where you stand in this transformation and how you as a leader will make it a smooth transition for your team.

Reaching the peak of success

After years of achieving and moving up in your career, you find yourself working harder than ever as a leader and unsure of what you’re working towards now. Often the uncertainty of what will come next and adjusting to the demands of leadership will lead to a difficult peak of your success. This can lead to feeling rundown and more stressed than ever before.

Luckily, there are ways to keep your career from feeling stagnant. Sponsors, advocates and supportive peers offer opportunities to prepare for what’s next and help you find other leadership opportunities. Many executive leaders move on to lead other organizations, launch new ventures for themselves, or create a retirement plan early on. Whatever you choose for what happens next, a successful leader needs support to help them through this transition.

Transitions are never easy, but they aren’t impossible. From initially taking on the role as leader, to figuring out what’s next in your career, there will always be a risk of failure. But with support from executive peers and a set plan for every transition in your career as a leader, you will find success..