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What To Do If Your Promotion Takes You Out Of Your Comfort Zone

01/26/2016 02:23 EST | Updated 01/26/2017 05:12 EST
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It's finally happened: after working hard, paying your dues and mastering your assigned responsibilities, you've been recognized with a promotion.

Having the opportunity to advance within a given company is something that many employees value. A 2014 Global Workforce Survey from Towers Watson found that career advancement opportunities ranked among the top three drivers of employee retention across all age groups. But what is not always discussed is the uncertainty that a jump can bring.

Often, advancement can bring with it a host of changes -- from more challenging duties to new direct reports, to increased interaction with senior leadership. But what should you do if these changes leave you feeling overwhelmed?

Whether you've been promoted into a new role at your current company, or you've been hired for a more advanced position at a different company, it is not uncommon to feel daunted as you settle in and get used to having more things on your plate. Here are some things to keep in mind as you adjust to your new position.

Take it one day at a time

Remember that you don't have to be an expert in your new role right away. There is an adjustment period.

If you are feeling out of your element, take a step back and make a list of the areas that have caused you to feel uncertain. Perhaps you might consider setting personal goals -- for instance, select one area and resolve to become more comfortable in that area before moving on to the next.

In any given position, there are a lot of responsibilities to juggle, but you don't have to perfect everything at once. You may find a segmented approach to be less overwhelming.

Be positive

While you may feel uneasy, don't let it show. If you feel panic start to set in, take a few long, deep breaths. You'll be amazed at the calming effect this practice can have.

You likely have a lot of learning to do in order to feel completely comfortable in your new position. If you approach your new tasks with a positive attitude, you can inspire confidence from other members of the organization.

Seek advice from someone you trust

There is likely someone within your network who has experienced a similar change. Shifting generations in the workplace means that it's likely a number of employees may just be getting their feet wet performing duties such as managing the work of others for the first time. For instance, EY's 2015 Global Generations Report found that increasingly more millennials are moving into management. The survey found that globally, 65 per cent of Gen X manages the work of others, while millennials aren't far behind at 62 per cent.

No matter which generation you belong to, it may be worth asking around and seeing if there is someone in your network who has advanced within their industry who might be able to offer advice.

Whether you connect with an individual within your company or the wider industry, having input from a peer can help you put your situation into perspective. You may also be exposed to some different strategies that can help you persevere.

Ask for informal feedback

Many companies require formal performance assessments every six months or on an annual basis, but you may want to ask for informal feedback sooner or at more regular intervals.

Doing so can help you to course-correct within the first few months of your new role, or can allow you to identify areas that you may want to place more of a focus on as you develop.

Fake it until you make it

The senior leaders in your industry didn't get there overnight. Everyone has to learn and build up their skills in order to get to the next level. But there is something to be said for giving off the impression that you know what you're doing, even you're really just still finding your legs.

Chances are, if you approach your new role with confidence, clarity and intelligence, your peers will not detect your uncertainty. Before long, you'll find your footing, become comfortable, feel secure in your role and thrive.

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