Being a leader isn’t about your title. It is about your influence and ability to produce results. The more you act like a leader and model leader qualities, the more your peers will look to you for leadership. And the more likely you advance into a leadership position. Don’t limit yourself to job title or job description. There are always ways to grow and develop within your company. Take advantage of opportunities your company offers. Some companies offer professional development options, and some offer an annual allowance towards professional development. Take advantage of it. If your company is willing to invest in your growth, use it and grow!
There are simple things you can do to present yourself as a leader even when you do not currently have a leadership role.
1. Change your mindset. Falling into the daily grind at work and feeling like changes are few and far between can get anyone down. Feeling down at work can greatly affect your attitude. But there are things you can do to reset and reengage. Try this – don’t let yourself complain, about anything, for three full days. The first day will be hard, but you may be surprised at how easy it becomes after that. At the end of three days, take notice of how you feel (do you feel more positive, more motivated?) and if you see a difference in what you attract (have you noticed less negativity around you?). It never ceases to amaze me how changing our own mindset can affect those around us and create a more positive and motivational environment.
2. Practice gratitude and positive feedback. Studies have shown that an employee that feels valued and appreciated will always do more than expected. Helping others to know their worth by showing gratitude when they do something to help you or giving positive feedback when they do something well, helps to create an environment where everyone feels good about helping each other. Words can build us up or tear us down. Try this – tell at least three people today that you appreciate something they did or that you think they did a really great job on something (be specific). Then watch. Watch their attitude shift. It may be slight, but you will see it because you just made that person feel good about themselves. And that, in turn, makes them want to do as good or better the next time around… for you.
3. Help and encourage others. If you have time, help someone out. If you don’t have time, help with encouragement or a resource. Helping doesn’t mean doing someone’s work for them. It means that if you see a peer struggling because maybe they have a large workload that day and not enough time to get everything done, ask if there is something you can do to help. Be someone that wants to see others succeed in their roles. Try this – even if it’s only once per week, offer help or encouragement to a co-worker. Even if it’s as simple as grabbing them a coffee when they’re too busy to get up from their desk, asking how their day is going, or encouraging them to go after that promotion they want. All of this helps to improve morale and create an environment where colleagues help each other when they see that someone needs it.
4. Listen more. The biggest key to communication is listening more. Make eye contact and show respect. Listening can help you learn what can be done better, different solutions, how to overcome challenges, or even how to be a better colleague. Improvement can only be achieved by knowing the issue. And what better way than to listen to those around you. Try this – if a coworker comes to you with an issue, listen first, then ask clarifying questions. Use those answers to help guide your coworker to a solution or at least an improvement. Then help and encourage the improvement.
5. Invest in your personal growth. The mode of investment is up to you. You can invest time by reading materials or researching information that pertains to the growth you hope to achieve. You can invest your money (or company’s money) by participating in trainings and webinars. Either investment will reap rewards through your own growth. Trying the tips outlined above is also an investment in your personal growth. You will see changes the day you start and your colleagues will begin to look to you for leadership.
Good luck on your leadership journey!
If you are interested in investing in your professional growth and leadership development, read more about our Leadership Institute.