How to Position Yourself as a Leader
Quick tips to get you on your way to being the leader you were meant to be
It’s a new year. You’ve outlined your new goals. You’re looking toward the horizon with plans to take over the world.
Or at least…your world.
You may have your eye on a promotion at work – or finding other employment. You may desire becoming a well-respected and sought-after authority in your field. This process can take time – and there’s no better time than TODAY to start.
While it could take years to climb the ladder up into senior management, tapping into your personal strengths is something you can start doing right now. Learn how to use your current assets to build up your clout in the workplace or your industry.
And by now you’ve probably heard multiple times that your title or position in the company does not predispose you to any level of leadership influence. I am proof: as an executive assistant, I was and still am the one executives seek out for advice, feedback, guidance, and opinions. Why? I take my “why” seriously – I am here to serve and assist you grow and develop.
And speaking of “why” … do you know why you want to be seen as a leader? Why do you want to have that influence? That “why” needs to be clarified and kept front and center while you are establishing yourself as a leader. It’s different for everyone, so do go looking for the “right” reason to want it.
Positioning yourself as a leader will make your work more meaningful and advance your career. You can gain influence based on your title, or on knowledge and skills you already possess.
Or you may want to launch your own business, and want to try to overcome that ever-nagging imposter syndrome. Or perhaps…just perhaps…you want to stretch your reach and contribute on a more expansive level where you are right now. You have a strong desire – some might even feel it as a need (like I do!) to help and serve others in some capacity.
So as you go through this list of tips, you may find that not all of them speak to you. You may choose to focus on only one or two – or even try them all.
Using Your Knowledge to Position Yourself as a Leader
Read daily. Pick up books (paper, digital, or audio) about business advice or any topic that interests you. The more you read, the better prepared you’ll be to contribute to any discussion. You’ll sound like a leader whether you’re engaging in small talk or critiquing a new logo. Alternately – again, if you’re an auditory learner or spend a lot of time in the car, find and listen to podcasts.
Sign up for training. Take advantage of programs your employer offers. Brush up on your high school Spanish or become proficient with a new software package. On-line courses are plentiful and economical. Be proactive in expanding your knowledge and skills – they are yours for a lifetime and can never be taken from you.
Browse during breaks. Those brief intervals you spend on hold or pausing between meetings can be put to good use. Break out your phone and search for industry news. You’ll stand out if you’re the first one to notice a major lawsuit or merger. Just a quick scan can reveal recent updates. And for a little more help? Set notifications on topics you want to follow.
Take a course. Many adults juggle full time jobs while going back to school. Schedule an appointment at your local university to see what you need to complete your degree. And don’t discount taking a class to explore a new hobby or interest. Stimulating your brain in a new way, with new experiences, can expand your creativity and broaden your conversation reach.
Consult an expert. Contact others in your network who would be willing to share their wisdom. Interview a colleague who has published a new book and promote her work on your personal blog. You’ll both benefit from increased information and publicity.
Shadow a star employee. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, a high performer may be pleased to show you the ropes. Let them know that you admire their style. Offer to assist them with specific tasks so you can learn f