Canadians went to the polls October 19 to elect a new federal government. No one really knew how things were going to turn out. In the end, the Liberal Party triumphed in what The New York Times called a stunning rout. Justin Trudeau is now their new Prime Minister, with a majority government.
The question on everyone’s mind is – now what? Canadians sent a clear message by bringing in a new government. All eyes will be on Trudeau to see what kind of leader he will be.
Will he fulfill his many campaign promises? Will he fulfill the legacy of his father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau? Will he deliver on his core platform of “real change – now?”
I have worked with many clients who are making the transition to take on big, new leadership roles, often for the first time in their careers. In their first 100 days, we support many of them through executive coaching or integration support. Even with all that help, it’s a daunting challenge.
I thought it would be interesting to talk to a few of my colleagues from Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge to get their advice for Justin Trudeau. Interestingly, they all talked about the same critical dynamic: great leaders start by building strong teams.
Here are the top four insights I gleaned from my colleagues:
- Surround yourself with trusted advisers. “Trudeau is new, so it will be critical for him to have trusted supporters, influencers and handlers around him”, said Brad Beveridge, Executive Vice President, Canada Operations.
- Be open to the perspectives of others. When you are new to a leadership role, you are dependent on the expertise and opinions of others to help you make decisions. “Trudeau needs to ensure he has people telling him what he needs to hear, rather than what they think Trudeau wants to hear”, stressed Lisa Knight, Managing Partner of our Executive Search and Interim Management Practice.
- Leverage complimentary skill sets. Running a country, like running a large company, requires a broad set of leadership capabilities. Often these are not found in any one person. So for any new leader, like Trudeau, “One must be able to build a team with leadership skills and styles that complement one another”, said Bryan Benjamin, Managing Director – Talent & Leadership Development Practice.
- Don’t buy into your own hype. Anytime a new arises, expectations are high. Trudeau’s win comes with much of the same fanfare that accompanied President Barack Obama’s first term of office. That will mean building a team that is able to cut through all of the balloons and streamers and start on the work at hand. “After the euphoria settles down, it’s time to get down to business and turn election promises into results,” said Margo Hoyt, Principal in Ottawa.
If you find yourself in a similar position to Justin Trudeau and are taking on a new leadership role for the first time, have you considered the importance of the people and capabilities you must surround yourself with? If you are only thinking about you, then you’ll probably come up short on delivering and may end up being a disappointment.
This week’s gut check asks: are you ready to take on a big leadership role?