Six years ago, I had my first ski lesson and I quickly realized that this winter activity was filled with leadership lessons. As a novice skier, each time I am on the hill or mountain, there is always something new to learn.
Have you ever been promoted to a new role or project thinking that you were ready, but soon realized that you needed help?
Last year during a family trip, I signed myself up for a full day of ski school. The morning session was focused on building confidence and new skills. The session ended with high fives and excitement. I was feeling confident and ready to advance to the next level.
In the afternoon session I was paired with the same ski instructor. He asked what I wanted to achieve in the session, and I told him that I wanted to go to the next level. We made our way to the high-speed lift that took us to the other side of the mountain. As we started down the mountain, I quickly lost confidence in my ability because the mountain required so much more from me. That loss of confidence led to a loss of focus and small mistakes, which led to a few falls. My instructor kept coaching me down the mountain. While I achieved my goal, I was physically and mentally exhausted at the end of the day.
That evening, I was reflecting on my experience and why I enthusiastically requested to be promoted to the next level of ski runs. It was simply my desire and eagerness to achieve the next level. I didn’t share with my instructor that I was tired or feeling overwhelmed at the start of the afternoon. I wanted to appear capable and confident to everyone.
Below are the leadership lessons I took away from that experience:
- As managers and leaders, be sure to spend time with individuals to ensure they have the experience, skills, tools, and support to be successful in a new role.
- As a leader, be sure that you are ready and willing to go the next level. The next level or role will require new skills and the landscape will look different. Find a coach that will help you navigate down your mountain.
- Expect failure, when we are used to success and are confident, failure is not easy. Remember that others are willing to help and support you along the way.
Being promoted to a new role or project requires support. Be a leader that coaches others and sets them up for success. Find a coach that can help you navigate the new terrain that comes with a new role the way my ski instructor coached me down the mountain.
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