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Trevor E.S. Smith | Am I Ready For The Next Level?

Published:Monday | September 10, 2018 | 12:00 AM

I have an excellent track record, so why am I struggling in my new role? Are the skills that carried me here going to take me to the next level? What adjustments do I need to make to excel at the next level?


Personal development


I have been conducting leadership coaching one-on-one sessions with a cross section of executives.

The process involves the completion of a Success with People Leadership DNA analysis which identifies 160 different behavioural styles. The reports guide the coaching.

A constant issue is the challenge that individuals face in adjusting their behaviour to different circumstances.

What takes you where you are may not take you where you want to go.

One value of the Leadership DNA analysis is that it provides a detailed line-by-line breakdown of your preferences and the adjustment that you need to make if you are to ace the next level.





Steve has climbed up the ladder by being a team player. Routine operations are reliably completed. He carefully avoids conflict.

The opportunity that facts Steve is in a different environment. There is rapid change. Also, many members of the team are not engaged, and conflicts are a regular occurrence.

Steve's new role is to take leadership of the team and guide it to the achievement of stretch targets.

Culture shock awaits Steve. There are no options for him to follow routines. Every day presents new challenges with little precedence or policy guidelines to guide him.

Worse, Steve would have dealt with a team that is not united and with members that he might have to push hard to achieve objectives.

This does not come naturally to Steve and if he is placed in the role without adequate preparation, he is going to struggle.

The Leadership DNA analysis provides a library of competences that are directly relevant to the job in question. Steve can choose competences that will make a difference to his success and work on them by himself or with the support of a coach.


Don's rise up the career ladder is marked by laser focus on getting results in the face of obstacles, resistance and individual sacrifices.

However, Don's dominant leadership style did not always endear him to those that he was charged to lead.

Don is now being given the opportunity to work on a project team with a group of high achievers. He is not the team leader, and effective cooperation is essential to the success of the project.

The high achievers have their own insights and they don't always see eye to eye.

Don cannot simply take charge and give instructions. This requires a significant behavioural change for Don.

Left unattended, he could get frustrated and may even be deemed a disruptive figure.

Again, Don and his coach can refer to the list of competences and identify priority areas for their work.


Three anchors for your personal development strategy



1. Know yourself

No matter how smart you are, there are aspects of your personality that are not apparent on the surface.

Identifying critical hidden information is an important driver of your success.

2. Open your mind

Do not be wed to the way you have always operated. In this diverse and rapidly changing world, flexibility is a requirement.

Learn to initiate, manage and respond appropriately to change.

3. Follow a structure

Whether by yourself or with guidance, ensure that work on your personal development is organised. You should limit the number of areas that you are working on simultaneously. A strong element of accountability must be in place to ensure that you follow the plan.




Check your readiness for the next level with a Success with People Leadership DNA analysis and consultation. Learn more about our DISCerning Model of Communication & Leadership. Request a free copy of our publication: 'DISCerning Communication - Comprehensive Guide to Interpersonal Relations, Leadership and Coaching' at Learn more about the turnkey Coach-Mentor Certification programme here: https://leadercoach.success

Complete your enrolment for the Certified Behavioural Coach programme:

- Trevor E.S. Smith and the Success with People Academy team prepare and certify leadership professionals and coach/mentors and develop engaged, high-performing teams. Hire smart with their recruitment solutions. Now enrolling coaches in the ICF/SHRM-Accredited Certified Behavioural Coach programme. Email: