Melissa Crossman is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis. She’s also a Colts fan; we like her anyway.
Trying to fill the shoes of future football Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning is no easy feat, even for the best of the best. But after watching Andrew Luck mesh perfectly in his first practice with the Colts, he appears prepared to take on the challenge. Considering his excellent run as Stanford’s quarterback for the last four years, it’s clear now that Luck was more than just a big fish in a small pond. But it may be a while before the Indy faithful accept Luck as worthy to play in Manning’s old spot.
Filling the Shoes of a Legend
Just as Luck was promoted to Manning’s coveted spot, many professionals find themselves faced with the intimidating responsibility of filling the shoes of an all-star employee who moved up or out. This former employee was popular, respected, and (incidentally) great at his job. Although you may have been the king (or queen) of your old department, the fact remains that you are you, not the other guy who used to do the same job. Just not being him can be a liability, no matter how good you are.
But fret not: a promotion gives you the opportunity to prove just how much of a champion you really are. No matter how much you may have prepared to take on your new position, you’re likely to face challenges along the way. Start practicing your end zone dance, and consider the following.
Start with a Strategy
Football players don’t even set foot on the field without a concrete strategy laid out for virtually every minute of the game. When something doesn’t work out as planned, they study the data and come up with a way to react until they discover a tactic that works. Similarly, you should approach your new position with several different strategies until you find one that hits the mark. The same strategies that worked with your old job may not with the new one, so be willing to get creative and try new things based on how the team responds.
Bond with Your New Team
Your team members likely have some important insights into the new responsibilities you’ll be taking on; after all, they’ve watched the beloved all-star succeed for years. It helps to get them on your side so you have somewhere to turn when the going gets rough. In addition to helping you adjust to your new position, building strong relationships with your new team helps them to be more productive under your leadership style. You can ensure that work will be completed more smoothly and effectively, allowing you - and your new team - to shine.
Invest Time in Mastering the Playbook
It pays to devote your free time to learning more about your new position and developing essential skills for success. To improve your qualifications for the job, you can take classes on relevant subjects in your new job or read books by experts in your industry. Doing so will prove that you’re dedicated to and fully qualified for your new responsibilities.
You may not instantly become the Peyton Manning on your first day, but that doesn’t mean a little hard work and strategizing won’t get you there eventually. Filling the shoes of a legend may come with pressure to repeat his performance, but bringing something unique to the company is also valuable. Don’t be afraid to maintain the originality and unique traits that earned you the promotion in the first place. There is room in the Hall of Fame for all styles of players.
Melissa Crossman is an avid blogger who writes about careers and job searching. She lives in Indianapolis with her two dogs.