Melbourne Business School News Five critical steps to becoming a leader

Five critical steps to becoming a leader

Shifting into a leadership role can be a big step for anyone. Leaders must deal with greater complexity, more people and build strategic relationships within their organisational context.


Your current skills and mindset may not be enough to carry you through the new role, no matter how hard you try. But all is not lost.

By asking yourself these five critical questions, you can successfully transition into a leadership role and better manage complexity, step by step.

The path to success

Step 1

First, ask yourself, ‘What is my role, and why am I here?’

Your answer will clarify your responsibilities and KPIs, while minimising chances of you and your followers not knowing what’s required of either party. 

Step 2

‘Where do I fit in?’

The key to clarity in your new role as leader is understanding your relationship to the business. You want to know where your role fits in, its purpose, how it connects to others and what the business requires from you. You need to comprehend the:

  • Business vision
  • Organisational structure
  • Purpose of your team
  • Where you sit in all that.

Step 3

‘How am I doing?’

You should regularly review your actions to achieve further progress for you and your team. This activity drives the critical process of regular formal and informal feedback.

Step 4

‘How am I getting along with others?’

Your relationship to the team should be as open and frank as possible, within the limits of each individual relationship. It's important to have a variety of conversations with each follower because it’s a sign of successful leadership.

Step 5

‘What is my future, and am I doing what I want to do?’

You need clarity on what your future can look like, and what your followers are feeling around their futures too.

Using your new insights

With new insights into your role as a leader, you should now be alert to any traps around transition, such as taking on familiar work, while also trying to lead your team or hanging on to the notion that ‘I can do it quicker and better myself’.

As a leader, you need to do things differently, especially if you have clarity around the five steps to transition. You should be able to transpose this clarity to your direct reports, which will help assure your future moving forward.

Learn more

Edmund King is the Program Director of our New Leaders Development Program. He has over 30 years’ experience in facilitating executive education programs and specialises in improving the effectiveness of leaders.

In a recent podcast, Mr King spoke in depth with colleague Jan Marshall about how people can successfully transition to leadership.

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