So you are management now – Professional Presence

Board-RoomWelcome! If this is what you dreamed about, ouch. It might turn out that way, but more than likely, the moments you recall down the road won’t happen in here. Right away, did you notice a change in how people act around you? Do they seem a bit more guarded? Perhaps over-the-top friendly beyond any past measure? Time for hard facts. You are management now. It is entirely possible you may need to get some new friends. For sure, your peer group just changed. You need to work on a couple things fairly quickly. As a leader, YOU need a coach and mentor as much as you are now that for others. Do not skip this step. Identify those who have walked in your shoes, seek them out, and keep an open and running dialogue with them. You may run up against something unique, but chances are, they’ve been there. At the same time, understand the potential change in dynamics. If you are fortunate to start your leadership experience in a brand-new environment with no baggage or history, super. If that doesn’t describe your situation, then be prepared for some early tests of whether you have become one with the Borg, or are still one of the boys and girls. That’s a false choice of course, and an early opportunity to set a professional tone and direction. Choose the impression you want to make and make sure that it is in the front of your brain, especially those “unguarded” moments when you can undo your hard work with some casual buffoonery that puts you right back at ground zero.

Establishing a professional presence in the modern world encompasses a host of daily behaviors that may be on your radar and some that may not. Managing meetings, E-mail etiquette, watercooler gossip sessions, availability to teammates, and critical conversation choices will all be put on your scoresheet. Do your homework!