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5 Tips for Naturally Turning into a Leader at Work
Becoming a leader at work can be challenging. You know you need to stand out and get the attention of management. You know you can do better, and you want to.
Maybe you want a promotion and move up to management, but, first, you need to prove to your boss that you have what it takes to be a great leader. You know what you want to happen and where you want your career to go, but how do you get there?
No one wants to be the squeaky wheel and to get ahead by being pushy or forceful. Fortunately, there are things that you can start doing right now to become a natural leader at work and move forward in your career.
1. Practice What You Preach
Begin by writing down the expectations you have of your boss or manager, and be specific. Not just their ability to do their job, but their traits and characteristics, behavior, and mannerisms.
Think of things that you would change about your boss if you could. What do you think makes a good leader? What are some traits of a boss or leader that you admire? Once you have your list, start meeting those expectations yourself.
Challenge yourself with this step. Look for opportunities to practice these skills, and meet those expectations. If you find that some of these expectations are difficult, take this time to improve on those skills. Momentum is everything, when you want to change your life. Reflect on your shortcomings and areas for improvement. A good leader is always looking for ways to improve and be better.
Leaders are rarely told to lead, they take initiative. Don’t wait for your boss or manager to tell you what to do: look for projects, work, and opportunities to be a leader.
Be accountable for your actions and focus on your progress and what you can do to be better. Don’t waste time or undermine your skills by comparing yourself to other employees.
2. Raise Your Standards: Work Harder
Starting with the list you made of expectations, start to work harder. Take the expectations you have for your manager/supervisor and implement them into the work you do every day.
Get to work early, be the first one there and the last one to leave. Don’t wait to be asked to work late or come in on a day off, this is another opportunity to take initiative. Go above and beyond the basic duties of your job and surpass the expectations of your supervisors.
Take your job seriously and surround yourself with others who do the same. Spend time with co-workers who are hard workers and set examples of good leadership. Stay away from colleagues who cut corners or require a lot of reminders from the manager/supervisor.
Really dig into your work. Don't quit, perseverance is everything. Look into your role and responsibilities at work, is there more that you could be doing? Other colleagues, you could collaborate with?
Consider your work and your actions in terms of financial gain. How much money are you earning or saving your company by working harder and more efficiently? What can you do to earn or save more?
3. Be A Good Listener
This one can’t be overstated. A good leader inspires those around them to do and to be better. To inspire people, you need to listen to them, and they need to trust you.
A good leader actively listens to everyone, partners as well as employees who may work under them. Active listening means not just saying what you want to say, but also giving others the opportunity to speak, and truly listening to, and responding to what they say.
A good listener doesn’t interrupt others and is able to communicate effectively. It is especially important to listen when getting feedback about your own skills and performance.
There are many benefits to being a good listener. You will have a better understanding of the environment and experiences of other employees, leading to a more relaxed work environment for everyone.
Listening to others in the work environment will also give you a better idea as to what is and is not working for employees and the company, possibly presenting the opportunity to help solve problems, and show off your leadership skills.
Listening to the concerns, ideas and perspectives of others will also help your colleagues to feel comfortable with you, and that comfort will make them more receptive when you propose new ideas or suggestions.
4. Educate Yourself
An important part of being a good leader is to keep learning. Never assume that you know everything about your field, your position, or your company. A good leader isn’t afraid to ask questions or take risks, but they do so from an informed place.
Learn everything you can about your company, your field, and your position. Read up on similar organizations and competitors, your company’s market, and unique value proposition.
Find out what has made other companies in your field succeed or fail? What qualities do their leaders share?
Do the same with your position. Who are the leaders in your field? Why are they so good at what they do? Read about the leaders and innovators in your position and the positions above you.
Expand your knowledge beyond just your career and position. Read biographies of great leaders. Read books about being an effective manager and a good leader. Inspire yourself to develop the mindset of a manager and a good leader.
5. Think of Yourself Already as a Manager
A good leader doesn’t wait to be told to take on the responsibilities, or the mindset, of a leader. To become a leader at work, you must think and act as if you are a leader already.
Think back to the list you made of your expectations of your manager/supervisor and expand this to include the CEO. Work through your day trying to meet those expectations, as if being the leader were already your responsibility.
If you were in charge, what would you do? How would you run the company? What would you change? Do you see areas for improvement within the organization? Brainstorm ways to solve problems and increase efficiency.
Create a clear vision for yourself and the company for 6,12,18, and 24 months, along with a plan on how to make that vision a reality.
Look at your colleagues and their work performance, where are the areas for improvement? In what ways could the company work more efficiently? What employee benefits do they value?
Lastly, look at your own time management. Don’t waste time at work. Schedule each day, week, and month. Make sure that you account for deadlines and projects. Schedule your breaks and your downtime so you aren’t tempted to waste time at work.
Moving ahead in your career is an admirable goal. Demonstrating leadership skills including listening to others and taking initiative, is a great way to stand out and get noticed at work.
Taking on the mindset and attitudes of a leader will help to enhance those skills necessary to move ahead in your career, and help you to naturally be a leader at work.
About the Author
Vision, Belief, Change inspires people to live the life they want, through opening their minds to new perspectives and possibilities, and providing them with practical tools for achieving their goals and dreams.