For some, a more senior role at their company is a route to more power and influence; a way to indulge your supporters and intimidate critics. For others, it’s a route to an easier life, or simply the next rung in their chosen career ladder. Whatever the reason you want it, there are certain proven tactics to better your chances of making the grade, and becoming a leader within your organization. Here are just a few…
Everyone has to start somewhere. The higher-ups at your department, leaders themselves, will recognize leadership qualities in people when they’re screening candidates for a promotion. You need to show them that you have what it takes to climb the ladder, just as they have. A masters in strategic leadership or something similar will certainly help, but you’ll need to demonstrate the fact that you can apply this kind of knowledge in a way that will benefit the whole organization. The next time your team is given a project, try to look at it from many different angles, think outside the box, and challenge bad decisions as they develop. A big part of business leadership is simply having the courage to run against the pack. Aside from that, you may want to talk to your boss about your personal goals, and ask them for extra, more managerial tasks that can build up your resume.
Build Relationships with More Senior People
That old adage “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” may be a little simplistic, but there’s a very important point to draw from it. Good networking is essential if you want to transcend your current position, and become the leader that your company needs. Don’t be intimidated by anyone’s titles, or the influence that they hold over the company. Engage with the people above you, work on your relationships at any opportunity you get, and try to learn about what makes them good (or not so good) at their jobs. The more you talk to the higher-ups at your company, the more confident you’ll get, and the more you’ll shape yourself for a more senior position. You may also be able to create a few personal advocates in the upper echelons of the company. One or two words from these people can make all the difference when there’s a promotion up for grabs.
Find your Edge
Giving yourself more “leadership material” usually takes a lot of self-improvement. You’ll need to have a long and often painful appraisal of your own skillset, pin down your main weaknesses, and go out of your way to improve them. However, you should also take the time to find your unique edge, the thing that separates you from others on your level of the pyramid, and use this to your full advantage. Even though certain leadership qualities are universal, everyone who makes it to the upper rungs of the company has something different to bring to the table. By finding out what you’re good at, and becoming even better, you’ll make yourself a much more attractive prospect.