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Thrust into captaining your team? 6 ways to lead at the last minute

ace a sudden promotion and make it work for you

Kane Williamson and Ajinkya Rahane suddenly find themselves elevated to captaincy in the wake of the ball-tampering controversy. Pic Credit:www.iplt20.com

The issue of captaincy has been a major talking point going into IPL 2018. Six of the eight teams in the tournament have got themselves new captains, and among them, the ban on Steve Smith and David Warner has suddenly thrust Ajinkya Rahane (Rajasthan Royals) and Kane Williamson (Sunrisers Hyderabad) into leadership roles in their respective teams.

How will this sudden elevation play out on the field? With each of these captains under intense scrutiny, how well they are able to absorb pressure and channelize it to inspire the best in their squad will determine the measure of their success in the coming month-and-a-half.

Nonetheless, cricket is hardly the only arena where these sudden transitions occur. They are equally common in the workplace where sudden and unexpected promotions can leave a promotee confused, nervous and anxious. What should you do if, like these IPL captains, you too find yourself in a situation where you are thrust into the limelight?

Use these tips to ace a sudden promotion and make it work for you:

  1. Accept the new situation
    Understand that life will never be the same again. Things will initially be awkward since the same people who were working with you are now expected to report to you, but the sooner you accept the reality and get used to the new power dynamics, the better, since it will allow you to get on with your job.

  2. Understand your role
    You may’ve been churning out great work at an amazing pace as an employee—the reason you were promoted in the first place—but your role as a manager is different. Don’t assume that you know what is expected of you. Speak to your boss to understand what their expectations are so that you are clear about it from the start.

  3. Score some early wins
    Use the 100-day strategy to deliver some quick results. “Your first 100 days in this job are critical,” says Allen Moore, executive consultant in the strategic management group at PDI Ninth House in San Francisco. “You need to score some early ‘wins,’ but without moving too fast.” He suggests identifying areas where you could make an immediate impact and then delivering on those to show some tangible gains upfront.

  4. Ask for training
    Don’t be afraid to speak to your boss or HR about the need for formal training. While management training does not automatically lead to an enhancement of leadership qualities, it could certainly help you grasp the basics of administration and man management that are so necessary in the new role. Alternatively, tap into the wealth of offline and online resources to help you sharpen your skills. Start with this list of recommended books that every manager should read.

  5. Seek inputs from your team
    Some of the best advice to managers comes from those they manage. Involve your team in the management process by seeking out their inputs and suggestions. This practice will also help you break down any communication barriers that may exist. Make it your priority to remove the roadblocks faced by your team. You already have an advantage here since you’ve faced the same problems before.

  6. Build a good rapport with your boss
    There will be several occasions where you will need advice from your manager to bail you out of difficult situations. Build an easy rapport with the boss so that they become comfortable sharing tips. At the same time, resist the urge to approach your manager with blatant questions about your next course of action; instead, draw up a list of solutions and seek out their advice on the merits.

    Even if you don’t possess many of the skills that go into making successful managers like communication, tact and diplomacy, and motivational skills, these can be learnt provided you are willing to dedicate the time and effort. Most importantly, stay humble and don’t let your success get to your head. Use the advice above to help you settle in and figure things out. Then go ahead and play a worthy captain’s innings!

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