Some people seem to be natural-born leaders, but even if you aren’t one of those people it is still possible to start developing leadership skills and get noticed for those high-level positions. Just like any other skill, becoming a good leader will require practice and effort on your part, but with time you should start to see the fruits of all of that hard work. So, what do you need to focus on to start being seen as a leader?
1. Know Your Business
Leaders have to know more about the field they work in than how to complete day to day tasks. While working hard on your currently assigned tasks is very important, not understanding the bigger picture of how the company is run from production to sales will not allow you to start thinking of ways to move the company forward. If you are unfamiliar with certain parts of your organization, that’s fine, but don’t leave yourself in the dark. Start asking colleagues about their work. Find out problems that could be addressed, and get some outside training if necessary.
2. Develop a Reputation for Caring about the Team
A key thing to remember about leadership is that constantly promoting yourself will only gain you a reputation as an ambitious brown noser, not a leader. Instead, focus on the needs and interests of others, and show support to your co-workers. This may mean expressing approval of another person’s idea, giving credit to others who worked on a project and offering assistance whenever possible. Seek to be the person that everyone goes to when they have a question or problem they need solved. In doing this, you become a valuable resource beyond your basic job requirements, and will start to gain the respect and appreciation of others.
3. Be a Leader Where You are At
No matter what your current job is, become the best at that job in your department. Find ways to streamline the work, increase quality and improve morale. Seek additional training if you have to, but don’t wait for someone else to ask you to do it. Take that leadership role upon yourself, and when you start to get results, others will start to visualize you in other leadership positions as well.
4. Become a Mentor
Leadership is all about building others up, so they can live up to their full potential within the company. Start developing this skill by offering support to a newer coworker who is struggling with a particular problem, and by welcoming opportunities to answer questions or share advice for how to do a job better.
5. Gain Trust
Leaders have to be trustworthy to those above and below them, and gaining trust is more about the things that you don’t do than the things that you do. Never lie, cheat or steal at work or in your personal life. When coworkers know about an employee’s affair, their trust can be lost just as much as stealing from the company piggybank. In addition, never trample over anyone else out of your desire to get attention. It may work in the long run, but your actions will come back to haunt you when none of your subordinates trust or respect you.
On Becoming a Leader