Overcoming 1st Timer Syndrome
Why I wrote the book?
I know what fear can do to you
I wrote this book because I know what it feels like to be afraid. We all have fears for certain things, especially when we are exposed to them for the first time. As a kid, I remember being afraid of dark places and cemeteries. Now, I don’t fear them at all. Why? I was afraid because I didn’t know enough about these places. Knowledge takes away any mystery.
Everything first is scary. It is a syndrome we all are familiar with. Think about your first drive, date, interview, and other experiences. You most probably still remember them vividly. As you increased your knowledge, skills, and practiced them again and again, you overcame the first-timer syndrome in those areas. You began relaxing, enjoying, and mastering these things with ease.
Likewise, you need to develop the necessary knowledge, skills, and apply these to overcome first-timer syndrome as an emerging leader. You need to be aware of the symptoms of first-timer syndrome such as the feeling of uneasiness, anxiety, fear, and uncertainty. You should also be knowledgeable about how these signs may ruin your chance to succeed and make a smooth transition in your first-timer leadership positions. Most importantly, you need to acquire the necessary mindset and top priority skills and practice them to overcome the first-timer syndrome.
This book, therefore, is written to help you increase your awareness. It shares some helpful insights to take away any lingering fear you might have from taking your first time leadership position. It offers some models, tools, strategies, and tactics for you to develop the most important competencies that empower you to overcome the 1st timer syndrome. This book is also written as a manual for you to go out and practice. The more you practice what you learned, the quicker first-timer syndrome goes away; the more you increase your confidence.
To share my 1st hand experience as 1st timer
I also wrote this book to share some lessons I have learned first hand from some first-timer leadership positions I have taken since the early ’90s. I was a first timer:
- Youth leader in the early 90s,
- Student leader in the late 90s,
- Supervisor in the early 2000s,
- Trainer in 2007, and
- Business owner in 2010.
To share what I gained from books & facilitation
This book also came to existence because I wanted to reveal for first timers the lessons I gained from reading many management and leadership books over the years. I also incorporated in the book many of the insights, tools, strategies, and tactics I shared when I was facilitating workshops and webinars for first-timers in some government agencies, corporations, and community organizations both in the US and Africa. I’m doing these because I didn’t have a head start.
I wish I had such a head start as you have in the form of a book specifically dedicated for first-timers before taking any one of the above first-timer leadership roles. Without any form of guidance, I plowed through them without preparation. Looking back, I regret not seeking help or finding growth opportunities such as reading books, getting coaching, or mentoring.
To prevent you from struggling & blaming
The same feelings are also shared by my attendees and the managers I coached. They shared with me that they thought they were alone in experiencing the 1st timer syndrome, which prevented them from revealing what was going on. Of course, they didn’t call the feeling a syndrome. Some struggled and unsuccessfully tried to hide the symptoms. Some blamed themselves and/or others for experiencing the syndrome.
One of my coachees described her couple of first-timer experiences as someone who crossed a busy straight while blindfolded. Another one told me that he regretted the energy and time he had wasted for weeks and sometimes for months. Some confessed to hurting their health and relationships while experiencing the 1st timer syndrome.
To equip managers and mentors of 1st timers
I had also conversations with mid-level managers and senior executives who didn’t know how to prepare and help their 1st timers adequately. They had the first-timer syndrome themselves. They know that, as it did with them, it will go away at one point and their emerging leaders will be okay in the end. But, they didn’t know how to shorten the lifespan of the syndrome for their first-timers. Now, they can.
To share the results of my informal research
I also wrote this book to make the results of my informal research, which I conducted as I was facilitating workshops and coaching emerging supervisors and managers, widely available. I studied what one can do to prepare and continue to excel as a first-timer team lead, supervisor, manager, or business owner. The informal investigation revealed to me that the overwhelming majority of first-timers don’t begin their 1st time leadership role with the right foot and proper support system.
Even seasoned leaders experience the syndrome
My research also showed me an interesting fact. Even seasoned supervisors or managers and executives experience the syndrome when they’re placed to lead a new position for the first time. It occurred to me that everyone is challenged by the transition. It is nothing to do with being a junior leader. It isn’t the place nor the people. Every transition is scary and challenging. Lots of unknowns, uncertainties, doubts, risks, guesses, and so on.
Let me show you the stages you may be passing throughout your leadership journey. Depending on the industry in which the organization operates, there could be a shorter or a longer version of leadership hierarchies. Most organizations, however, have these three levels of leadership progression:
- Star employee,
- Manager, and
As you make a transition from being a start employee to a supervisory role, which you are experiencing now, you will face certain challenges during the transition. Likewise, when you make a transition from a supervisory to a managerial role, you will have different sets of transition challenges that come from leading from the middle. Likewise, when you make a progress to become an executive, you’ll also be having some transition challenges specific to senior leadership.
The difference is that experienced leaders get rid of the symptom quickly. They also become proactive to mitigate the impact and shorten the period. Otherwise, everyone is a victim of first-timer syndrome.
The science behind why the syndrome exist
This book is written to reveal to you the science behind why every leader experiences the syndrome. It is straightforward. The mindset, attitude, personality, and many of the skill sets that allowed you to excel as a follower or an employee or a leader in another leadership position won’t serve you that much in your new leadership role. For that matter, some of them may sabotage your transition. The challenge is that you may not even be consciously aware of the full extent impacts of the syndrome right away. You may keep thinking, behaving, deciding, and acting the way you used to, expecting to get the same fantastic results you got in your previous team member or another leadership role somewhere.
What got you here, won’t get you there
As the saying goes ‘What got you here, won’t get you there.’ What brought you this far cannot help you any longer to succeed where you are now. You need a new mindset, the necessary skills, and the right personality to succeed from the get-go. And, this book will inspire, equip, and empower you to succeed as a first-timer team lead, supervisor, or manager.
Strong foundation for your future leadership roles
By the way, the step you are about to take by reading this book will become a strong foundation for your future 1st timer and senior leadership positions. As you advance in your leadership, you would appreciate that you read this book. It lays a strong foundation on which you would continue to build as you become a mid-level manager, executive, CEO, and more.
Whatever you may learn and practice will translate into making your future 1st timer roles easier and smoother even if some of them are going to be challenging. It sets you free from the fear of experiencing the syndrome again. It increases your confidence and prepares you to quickly make a successful transition in every future first-timer leadership role you may take.
To help you make a smooth transition
The tips you are about to get from this book will equip you to make a smooth transition from your current role to your next leadership assignment. It also provides you lots of insights, tools, and methods that you could use to mentor first-timers in your organization, especially your successors as you help them make a smooth transition by sharing your experience. What is more? The nuggets, models, approaches, strategies, and tactics you are going to learn will empower you to succeed in your other endeavors outside of work and business. Let’s dive in!
Other excerpts from the upcoming book:
Note: You don't need to wait until the book is published. If you are a 1st timer team lead, supervisor, manager, or business owner, enroll for the online course which is already available. Here is the link to enroll: https://www.successpws.com/first-timer