August 23, 2018

Opinion

How can young professionals transition successfully into a leadership position?

Transitioning into a leadership position within an organisation is not an easy process;  neither for the new leader nor for his/her former teammates. This is even harder for young professionals who, at this stage of their careers, are trying to assert themselves within a team/organisation or, more generally, within their field of work.

This toolkit was developed to facilitate this transition. It proposes team building techniques to (i) install open and honest communication and feedback, (ii) renew team motivation, (iii) promote an inclusive and fair environment and, (iv) facilitate both personal and group development.

Although it was developed to specifically support young professionals transitioning to a position of leadership within a same organisation (what we call leaders in transition), this toolkit  can be used in a wider context by young persons growing into leadership positions.

The tools will give transitioning leaders, guidance to:

  • Co-develop a team vision that seizes the beginning of a new leadership phase;
  • Articulate their individual growth with that of the team/organisation;
  • Integrate internal and external factors so that the team/organisation moves forward with a clear alignment of the leader’s intentions and objectives with that of the group;
  • Integrate the heart (emotions) with the mind (reason) when developing a new vision for a team/organisation.

The innovation of this kit is that it is a collective effort of the On Think Tanks 2017 Fellowship Programme. It is the result of a learning project which followed the 5 stages of design thinking (empathise, define, ideate, prototype, test) and where fellows viewed leadership as an evolving concept and process. While some of the tools were developed by the team, others were borrowed from practitioners in the field of leadership development.

The content of the toolkit moves from general to specific insights. First, we deal with our objectives and how to achieve them through our public narrative. We then move on to outlining several different techniques that will help transitioning leaders to advance together with the team. Last, we reflect on the role of legacies in this process.

Because many of the fellows have been through this process themselves, several of the tools proposed have been tested and their effectiveness, in different contexts, has been proven. This is a practical toolbox which hopefully will help any young transitioning leader.

Table of contents:

The Big Eyes Project by Vanesa Weyrauch

Public narrative by Cristina Bacalso

Techniques that will help you connect with your team by Stella Utica

Staff retreats as a tool to grow as a team by Renata Skardžiūtė – Kereselidze

Practical guidelines for a leader to tackle the challenge of a new status in an organization by Dmytro Khutkyy

What role for legacies: (Re) building a horizontal organisational think tank culture by Simonida Kacarska

Feminine management style: not just a woman’s affair by Aminata Diop

About the authors:

Cristina Bacalso:  Policy and Research Coordinator at Youth Policy Labs and On Think Tanks Fellow

Dmytro Khutkyy:  Head of e-Dem Lab, Center for Innovations Development, Ukraine

Simonida Kacarska:  Director of the European Policy Institute in Macedonia

Stella Utica:  Project coordinator for the Institute for Public Policy in the Republic of Moldova and OTT Fellow

Vanesa Weyrauch:  Director On Think Tanks School and Co-founder and Director at Politics and Ideas

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