Most of us want to be leaders but few of us have created a path to meet that goal.
According to a 2017 article from Infopro Learning, 83% of organizations believe it’s important for them to develop leaders at all levels in the workplace, but only 5% actually have a plan to accomplish it.
With leadership development so absent from the workplace, employees are left to their own devices as they try to rise through the ranks. Those with strong personalities have an easier time navigating competition and success.
However, all of us can apply at least one or two habits or mindsets to our daily work life that can help us become leaders.
We reached out to workplace professionals across the country to find 20 tips for becoming a leader at work. In this post, we’ve included the first 10.
Run toward the fire
Chris Ebmeyer, Managing director, Crossmedia
“Many times, when a problem arises in the office with a client, account, project, etc.; people have a tendency to run the other way.
“True leaders ‘run towards the fire’ and jump in to help solve the problem, not the other way around. When employees put themselves in uncomfortable, tough positions, many times not of their own making, they show true leadership characteristics.”
Make your colleagues’ successes known
Erin Halper, Founder, The Upside
“To become a leader in an organization, it’s important to highlight others’ achievements, even more than your own. True leaders recognize that milestones and wins are a group effort, and never the result of one person’s work, especially their own.”
Don’t be afraid to be competitive
Greg Spillane, CEO, Reachify
“Having people on your team who are competitive, who can work within a team environment, and who understand the importance of hard work can give you a heads up in business. To succeed in a competitive world, you have to be relentless in your desire to win.”
Document your wins and your goals
Arlena Jackson, Founder, Elevation Ally
“Your manager is your biggest supporter. When you win, your manager wins. Make certain he or she always knows your top three accomplishments for the week and your top three priorities for the upcoming week. This can be delivered by way of email each Friday morning.”
Develop your presence
Genna Ziino, Content coordinator, Ariel
“Presence is the ability to connect authentically with others in order to motivate and inspire them. This skill can be used for large audiences or one-on-one, and it’s something you can work on daily through small things like listening sincerely and showing up fully in the things you do.
“Having these skills helps people to trust you, builds relationships and makes your audience tune in to your message above others.”
Become an office thought leader
Desiré Greene, Managing partner, Luckett & Liles
“Sharing industry knowledge and having a point of view will strengthen your professional brand. It also helps you think strategically.
“By understanding the larger picture, you can make better suggestions and contribute to executive-level discussions. So, while everyone else is checking Instagram, read an industry article. You’ll be surprised by the results.”
Know your department and company key performance indicators
Ilene Marcus, MSW, MPA; Founder, Aligned Workplace
“As a boss, I always follow the data. Usually, all roads lead to one person over and over again. Be that person. Know the reports, the data, the numbers (how they are created and what impacts them); this makes you indispensable.
“Believe me; as the boss, you are keenly aware of your KPIs, so if you want to be a leader, be keenly aware of your KPIs (metrics).”
Be the first to volunteer
Thomas Harris, Co-owner, The Exceptional Skills
“You’ve probably seen it a hundred times. Someone asks a question for a response or asks for a volunteer, and no one raises their hand. Then eventually one person does, then everyone else starts to follow.
“Everyone is afraid to be first. They are followers. Don’t be that person. Be the person who stands up first, volunteers, answers questions, shares input, and get things done.”
Be clear on the end game
Shefali Raina, Leadership and high-performance coach, Alpha Lane Partners
“In any situation or context, or for any project at work, get clear on what the end game is, what the goals are and what matters most. People are seen as leaders when they have clarity on vision and goals and are able to communicate that clarity to others.
“When you are clear on what matters most, you will be able to help the team focus their energy and attention to the most important aspects and avoid unproductive and ineffective distractions and people will look to you to resonate with the big picture vision.”
Self-start your professional development
Jenny Hester, Director of marketing, LIVE Design
“Attend free seminars, lunch & learns, etc. These usually end up being extremely useful, full of info and provide great networking opportunities. Show your boss you care about your career, want to learn more, at little or no cost to them.”