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  • Writer's pictureOsnat Benari

Starting from Scratch in a Leadership Role with Liliana Petrova

What's more challenging than starting from scratch? Starting from scratch as a new leader. It's the first time you don't have someone to tell you what and how to do things. Your manager is usually so senior they forgot how to coach you, and as they say, "it's lonely there at the top." Before Liliana started from scratch, she felt she needed coaching to help her find her leadership path. Looking for a coach, she finally found the right one. "A coach that matches you and your style is not easy to find, and when I finally found the right one, he was only available weekends. On top of that, he had a cat, and I'm allergic to cats. But for several months, I would walk up early on weekends, take my allergy medications, and head to his office - that's how dedicated I was to growing myself".

Identify and write your values.

"Many people learn about leadership from courses, HBR articles, and rarely do people decide this is an investment you need to be committed to. I learned that leadership is a belief system; who you are is important. A leader is a noun, but when you want to grow into a leadership role, you need to know the adjectives you want to add to it. It was an amazing gift to me. I still have my notes, and I return to them when I feel challenged."

What was your biggest revelation?

"As a type-A individual contributor, I am a high achiever and can come off as impatient as I get to a solution quickly, and I strive to achieve results. As a leader, I need to be different. There's no point in having a team if you are the first to speak; you need to support your team and help them get there."

What feedback was most meaningful to you as a new leader?

"To shut up! I used to work for a brilliant leader; he was sitting in a room and observing and absorbing all the information and only then speak up. He told me that everyone already knew how smart I was; they already knew I knew the answer, so there was no need for me always to speak first and that as a leader, I needed to help them get to where I was on their own".

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