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Career transitions are stressful, especially when moving into your first leadership position. You want to have an immediate positive effect while simultaneously learning the lay of the land and finding your footing. Michael Watkins, author of the best-selling The First 90 Days and expert on leadership transitions, gives pointers and provides strategies to manage career transitions and ensure your success in your first leadership role and the ones that follow.


Successful leaders share several traits, including a learning mind-set, a range of experience and the ability to balance confidence with humility.

Senior leaders with successful track records in sustaining excellence share several characteristics. The first is agility. They assume new roles with learning mind-set – ready to absorb information rather than take charge and provide answers. Second, they have a diversity of experience. Holding different positions in a variety of companies and work environments gives them a worldly perspective. Last, they’re able to strike a balance between humility and ego. They lead with confidence without adopting a command and control style. They avoid “CEO syndrome” by surrounding themselves with an inner circle that challenges them without fear of retribution.

Jeff Immelt from GE is a good example of an executive with these traits. He followed renowned CEO Jack Welch to profitably lead...

About the Podcast

Ryan Hawk the host of The Learning Leader podcast, which focuses on leadership development and continuous improvement. Michael Watkins authored the best-selling The First 90 Days and co-founded Genesis Advisers, a leadership development group.

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