Advice for New Leaders from Kellogg’s Dean

February 04, 20151 minute read

Sally Blount, Dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, in a blog appearing on, offers three pieces of basic advice to individuals stepping in to their first big leadership role. First, she says, “Recognize why you were picked.” New leaders, she explains, should “be explicit in negotiating these expectations with your higher ups and iterate them over the first six months.”

Her second piece of advice is “Build your team,” as she notes, “The biggest trip-up in this transition is that people keep trying to do all the work themselves.”

The third lesson is “Find good advisors/coaches. Build a circle of 2-3 senior people who have a stake in your success and cultivate them as one-on-one advisors. Don’t be shy about turning to them every few weeks with thorny problems.”