Every time you are advanced or promoted, there is a lingering question in your leader’s mind as to whether it was a good decision. You verify it with your behavior in your new role, which means you have to let go of what made you successful in your previous role to make room for the behavior and practices that will make you successful in your new role. There isn’t room for both.
Beginning at a staff position, your responsibility is to establish yourself technically. You need to have the fundamentals down pat before there is any hope of advancing. Soon you have to supervise the work of others, making sure they perform. Then you assume project and engagement responsibilities, coordinating multiple facets of the job. Then you have to learn to delegate so that people develop under you while completing successful projects. These are a few of the duties you have to perform to validate you are worthy of advancement. If you fail to adapt and adjust to the new role, you make your next promotion nearly impossible.
So many mid-level professionals and new partners function at their previous level, believing they are doing a great job. Unfortunately, they actually diminish themselves because they have been unable or unwilling to assume the new role. I’ve heard so many senior leaders wonder out loud whether they made a mistake in promoting their former high performers.
So, do an assessment of your performance in your new role. Rather than assume you’re doing well, ask for the opinion of others to find out what else you should be doing. Make sure your busyness reflects your new role, not your former one. And most importantly, evaluate your results—they have to grow the business.
The point is that you confirm the wisdom of your promotion in your actions—what you no longer do and what you do instead. Make ‘em proud.