I recently read an article published by Success Magazine titled “Do These 7 Things If You Want to Become a Leader”. In reviewing the tips provided, it was clear, becoming a leader is certainly within your reach if you are determined, passionate and committed to growing in your career.
The leadership tips highlighted in the article are summarized below:
- Be a team player: Employers may ask specific questions during the interview process that help them evaluate the level of collaboration you have had in previous positions and how much of a team player you are. Being able to work together, even in difficult situations, is an important characteristic when developing as a leader. Think of some scenarios that highlight your experience as a team player. Did you put together a special work group to address an issue or concern in your workplace? Did you volunteer for a community based team working to make improvements in your hometown or school system? Have you served as a coach or educator outside of the workplace? Don’t be afraid to highlight your successes working with a team.
- Lead from where you are: It is important to realize, even if you are not presently in a leadership role, you can still demonstrate leadership skills from whatever role or position you are in. This is how you get noticed by other leaders in your workplace. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you see a process that could be improved, identify a better way to do something – a time-saving approach that will achieve the same end result. Sometimes those in non-leadership roles, see things from a different perspective and identify areas for improvement or efficiency that no one else has yet noticed. Feel comfortable and confident sharing your thoughts and ideas. This highlights your leadership skills and may help you stand out as a candidate for a promotion into a leadership role.
- Be an expert, but learn and master new skills: Work hard to learn and excel in your current role. Ask questions during your performance review about how you can continue to grow and expand your skill set. Making your managers aware of your interest in growing and trying new things is important. As opportunities arise, your manager will recall the interest you shared and you may be selected to work on the next special project, or asked to take on additional responsibilities. Put yourself out there … be clear what your goals are and find out what it will take to attain them.
- Be open to feedback and criticism, and use it to grow: Ask your manager for feedback on your performance. This shows you care about the job you are doing and want to ensure you are meeting the expectation. If you make a mistake, speak up and admit it. Ask how you could have done something differently to get the desired result. Learn to ask questions if you don’t understand something. This will ensure you start off on the right foot which will aid in your success. Never be embarrassed to ask questions or seek clarification – this shows you want to do things right and truly care about your performance.
- Demonstrate a firm understanding of client needs: Take time to understand the client expectations in addition to your employer’s expectations. Having this information will help align your performance to best achieve the desired outcome. This is a win-win for all involved. This promotes job security and paves your way to future career growth.
- Learn to communicate well: Stick to the facts and leave the emotions aside. Leaders are good communicators both verbally and written. The ability to speak and write truthfully, clearly and concisely is something a leader does well. Being able to address problems or concerns and provide recommendations to overcome the problems or concerns is symbolical of a leader. Keep the communication lines open and never build up walls or barriers within your team. Be authentic and transparent – this keeps the playing field level so everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises.
- Take actions and make recommendations for the good of the organization, not you: When you are making decisions or recommendations, do so from the perspective of what is best for the organization and your team. Never make decisions that would only benefit you personally. When a project goes well, the entire team gets credit. When a project doesn’t go well, the entire team receives guidance and instruction on how the outcome could have been different so they learn for next time. Being fair, honest and open with your team will earn you their respect. Being loyal to the organization and employees is the best recipe for success.
Keep Calm and Put Your Leadership Cap On!