You\u2019ve been in your new IT leader job for a short time now and you\u2019re still excited about taking on this new assignment.\n\n\nYou\u2019ve been following the suggestions I gave in my previous posts on how to get off to a great start during your first 90 days.\n\n\nBut you may be feeling overwhelmed at this point. And maybe a little worried that you\u2019ve stepped into a situation that is bigger and more complex than you anticipated. You may even be wondering if you\u2019re the right person for this job.\n\n\nRelax. Take a deep breath. We\u2019re going to get you to a good place.\n\nThrown into the deep end of the pool\n\nTaking on a new IT leadership role brings new challenges during your first 90 days. You\u2019re building new relationships with your team, your manager, and your stakeholders. You need to get up to speed on the projects, technologies, and issues. You\u2019re drinking from a hose and trying to sort out what\u2019s critical and what can wait.\n\n\nAnd it doesn\u2019t help that the spotlight is shining brightly on you right now. People have high expectations that you will be delivering results \u2013 after all, that\u2019s why they hired YOU!\n\n\nAs you learn about your new environment, you may feel the need to take a deep dive into many areas so that you\u2019re feeling more confident and in control. And while this is admirable, it may also backfire on you if you\u2019re not careful.\n\nDrowning in a pool of details\n\nSome IT leaders, whether new in their job or not, feel their success is based on their solo performance; that they\u2019re expected to have deep knowledge about everything going in their area of responsibility. So they try to be the \u201cexpert\u201d in every aspect of their job.\n\n\nBut this can be a problem in a number of ways:\n\n\nGetting buried in the low-level details of the technologies, projects, or issues detracts from your ability to be strategic and broad in your thinking.\nYou may be viewed as a \u201ctechie\u201d, rather than a leader \u2013 which is definitely bad for your career.\nYou are depriving your team from developing their technical, leadership, and problem solving skills because you\u2019ve over-taken responsibility for things they should be handling.\nYou\u2019re going to burn out, and fast!\n\nStay in your swim lane\n\nSince you can\u2019t be an expert in everything, my advice is to play to your strengths. Your strengths are those talents and skills that got you hired into this role and made you successful in past roles.\n\n\nWhen you play to your strengths, you will be more successful and confident; and people will have more confidence in you.\n\n\nSo what do you do about your weaknesses? You want to minimize your weaknesses as much as possible, and I have some tips below on how to do this.\n\nDon\u2019t swim against the stream\n\nLeveraging your strengths requires that you know what your particular strengths are. This awareness will help you determine where you can best contribute and make an outstanding impression. Some examples of strengths:\n\n\nPlanning and organizing\nPresenting in front of an audience\nQuickly spotting relevant patterns and issues\nMaking decisions involving many factors\nBeing a change agent\n\n\nNow make a list of your strengths. Refer to these examples of strengths to get your wheels turning.\n\n\nOnce you have your list of strengths, consider your current role and how your strengths might serve you in this situation. Think about how you can use these strengths to build relationships, lead your team, create value for your stakeholders, or solve problems.\n\n\nNow let\u2019s address those weaknesses.\n\n\nWeaknesses are anything that gets in the way of excellent performance.\n\n\nBut all weaknesses are not created equal. There are low-impact weaknesses and high-impact weaknesses:\n\n\nLow-impact weaknesses generally do not impact your performance review. For example, if you\u2019re not great at creating pivot tables in Excel and you only need to do it occasionally, then this is probably not going to impact you very much. You can muddle your way through it.\nHigh-impact weaknesses are weaknesses that can derail your career. For example, if your leadership role requires you to do frequent presentations and your communication skills are awful, this could be a career-killer for you.\n\n\nHere\u2019s some suggestions for managing low-impact weaknesses:\n\n\nDelegate it. There may be someone on your team or that you can hire who is an expert in this area or is willing to learn to be the expert.\nNegotiate it. If this activity is not essential to your performance, your manager may be willing to assign it to someone else on the team. In fact, the activity may only be on your plate because \u201cit\u2019s always been that way\u201d, whether it made sense or not.\nPurchase it. If appropriate for the situation and you have the budget for it, consider using a contractor or consultant to take over that activity.\n\n\nHigh-impact weaknesses require you to do something to become proficient in those areas. Consider doing the following:\n\n\nLearn it. Acquire knowledge through formal training or self-study.\nPractice it. Pursue opportunities to practice your new skill in a safe setting.\nReview it. Gather ongoing feedback from your manager or colleagues on your effectiveness in this area.\nNurture it. Work with a coach or mentor to continue your development.\n\n\nLeveraging your strengths and managing your weaknesses will make you more effective in your IT leadership role. And while it takes a little effort on your part to figure this out, your career is definitely worth it.\n\n\nI\u2019d love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Please leave a comment!