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  • Writer's pictureJenni Schierman


I was recently having a conversation with a client of mine around this very idea. Often when we are moving from one level of leadership to another, we look for others that have gone before us in order to model some of those leadership traits that we hope to learn or sharpen.

It is completely normal to not know what the next step looks like or even which direction the path is supposed to lead. This is all new to you.

What happens when you are the first?

Many of us, whether due to race, gender, or simply a newly created position in a company will find ourselves in this position.


During the conversation with my client I asked her what it would look like if she had to go first. What that might look like. Sometimes this can feel a bit overwhelming. Where do you start? How do you know if you are “doing it right”?

Guess what? If you’re the first…YOU determine what “right” looks like. You are blazing the trail. There is a certain sense of excitement and freedom that can come with going first.

What would you want the role to look like ideally?

If you were coming into this role in five years and someone else had already gone before you, what would you hope they had left as a legacy?

These are some initial thoughts you can begin to brainstorm as you move into these unknown spaces for the first time.

The biggest thing to takeaway is that it is normal to feel a bit uncomfortable and unsure. This is all new to you. I’d be more concerned if you didn’t have any of these feelings.


Depending on what level of leadership or management you might be at you have likely built up a network of resources. Whether you are in motorsport or some other industry networking is part of business.

Reaching out to leaders or other senior managers can help you normalize some of the things that you are thinking and feeling.

They can also be a resource to help you brainstorm as you step into your new role, face challenges, and celebrate wins.


As I sat down to write this, I thought about what effective leadership looks like to me. Books I have read on the topic, leaders I have worked with that embodied these skills and what a “good job” looks like.

I believe that there are many things that make up an effective leader. Three key traits kept coming up as I reflected. These were: strong communication skills, big picture/strategic thinker, and integrity.

These three attributes existed in all of the great leaders I have been blessed with working alongside thus far during my career. I’d be interested to hear what others you might rank as your top three.


If you are working on developing your leadership skills but don’t have someone to model, I would encourage you to create your own model. Borrow pieces from those you respect and create your own path. It’s not always the easy way but sometimes that’s what makes it more rewarding.

I help leaders in my coaching practice every day. I’d be happy to discuss how we can work together to refine your leadership skills, emotional intelligence, or executive presence.

Click here to schedule your complimentary call today!

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