Kristina King talked about how her own leader facilitated her own move into leadership.
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Charlotte Ward 0:14
Hello, and welcome to Episode 18 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The topic for this week is transitioning to leadership with some personal perspectives. So let’s listen to five leaders talking about that very topic. Today I’d like to welcome back Kristina King. Kristina, the topic for this week is transitioning to leadership. And I’m particularly interested in your personal story and if you have any advice for up and coming leaders..?
Kristina King 0:46
Yes, I mean, I love this topic because I’ve always been in the midst of an existential crisis. Am I doing the right thing is this what I want to do with my life? Am I making enough impact? I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be a leader initially. I enjoyed leading. Leading has some things in common with teaching, which is something I did for five years. But you really have to accept that you have a big influence on people, whether it’s teaching or leading. And so for me, I was always kind of nervous about like about that particularly. Am I am I good enough as a person? Am I good enough at my job and good enough at all of these things to teach? but then when I transitioned into tech, it was like, Am I good enough to lead I don’t know. And I enjoy leading like, I’ve always produced the short films with my ragtag group of friends for 40-hour film projects, so no stranger to herding cats as it were, and so it’s that like, sort of experience that’s like maybe I would like that. So when I got into tech, it was the first time that I actually had really great managers. Wow, once you have a good manager, you realise all the managers you had before were bad. And maybe that’s why you never thought about leadership. And then having good managers who, you know, saw my strengths and told me what my strengths were really helps. And as my second manager was, like, ultimately coming up with her succession plan here, she’s like, Who should I groom? She was talking with me, and she’s like, Well, have you ever thought about managing? I was at the time our community manager, I was like, Well, yeah, I mean, I’ve done supervisory stuff before and I know teaching is kind of managing, but I’ve always kind of idolised these good managers and seen them as larger than life. But for me, yeah, so it was my most recent manager, Megan, who was like, Hey, is this something that you’d be interested in? And, you know, I thought about it, and I was like, Yes, absolutely. And so the time came around, and she is promoted to director and I was promoted to supervisor a few years ago, and she left and we had the job vacant for several months. And then we found a new director, hired her and she ended up leaving after four months, just wasn’t a good fit for her. I went in and I told my boss, I was like, You know what, I want to lead this team. I don’t want to report to a director and have just part of the team. I want to lead the whole team. And so that’s my biggest piece of advice for people is if you think you might want it, be vocal about it. And I know that can be hard, especially if you’re a woman or minority where you’re not typically groomed for those sorts of things. But I think it worked best with my boss. I think he gave him more confidence that I said I wanted to do it.
Charlotte Ward 3:47
Yeah, that makes sense. And I think that’s interesting. You know, it’s as much about being vocal about it as having the opportunity for it and I think actually the two don’t have has to happen at the same time, do they? I think that you can be vocal or at least you can look for opportunities to exercise some of those muscles without necessarily having that role immediately available to you to step into as well.
Kristina King 4:15
Absolutely. And that’s such a good point. Becoming a senior manager and getting involved in more of the planning conversations and things like that. It’s Wow, our leadership really does have everybody’s, you know, interests in mind. And so I didn’t realise that they talked about us so much… we’re just support nobody cares about us. You know, everybody in support feels like yeah, at some point in time. But knowing that they’re like, you know, who do you think would want to manage and that kind of discussion, like knowing that those are going on, really crystallised for me how important it is that people do let their manager know that they’re interested. In meeting, or even just like, Oh, I’m interested in taking on more projects, even if you’re not ready for even if there isn’t this space for it at that moment, yeah, just having them ready to give you those opportunities when they come along, or, you know, applying for those opportunities when they come along. It puts you in a good space. And so now that I know that I’ve made an effort to ask people, specifically in one on ones, like, is this something you’re interested in? Are you more interested in pursuing the technical route? Like, I mean, you don’t have to know right now I’m just curious.
Charlotte Ward 5:33
And of course, leadership can mean so many more things than just team lead to manager to director it, it can be project leadership, it can be all manner of things and you can kind of craft it, can’t you over time, which becomes part of that ongoing discussion that you’re talking about there as well. If you are as an individual, given the opportunity to happen to have those discussions with your leader, but also that if as an individual, you’re willing to put yourself out there even just a little bit like just baby steps into taking on extra responsibilities or looking for projects or things to get involved in, they all speak to, over time, an interesting making that transition into leadership eventually, even if it’s not immediate.
Kristina King 6:17
Yeah, and that’s such a good point, too. It might not be immediate, and it might not even be in the same company, but you have that experience. And it’s something that you can put on your resume or LinkedIn, and you might not even ever manage people, but you can still be considered a leader, as an individual contributor, and I think that’s important.
Charlotte Ward 6:40
That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/18 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.
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