Waiting for the leadership fast track?

You may be waiting in vain. If you’re expecting formal authority, a title, compensation, perk or some other official designation, you probably have a VERY long wait. Tomorrow’s leaders step up and make positive differences today. They bypass others because they do not wait until they’ve gathered the credentials, experience, education, etc. They prove their ability first, and then are awarded by promotions and financial compensation.

Perception is reality. Up and coming leaders take the initiative. They make suggestions and act upon them, regardless of their position. They make it easy for others to work with them by creating win-win outcomes. If they don’t have the experience, they go get it now by learning from others (e.g., working with a mentor, or hiring a coach). They use scientifically validated assessments to clarify their strengths and operate accordingly. They are seen by others as the person to count on to get projects completed or issues resolved.

Network for success. What’s the fastest way to be recognized as someone with leadership potential within your own company? Join outside community, trade or industry associations. Get involved with committees or take a position on the board of directors. Show up at meetings. Learn how to influence others by using a balance of factual and people skills. Don’t rely solely upon your passion as the selling point for your ideas. This shows management and workers you know how to work effectively with others.

Professional savvy. Adopt the motto: Listen and learn! Use appropriate manners. “Please” and “Thank You” help in any situation. Be open to building upon others’ ideas to create sustainable results. Respect others and their experiences to help you gain credibility quickly. Learn to work with and through others to achieve an outcome everyone can live with, even if there is not 100% agreement. But beware of bypassing your boss or team members when you don’t agree – that’s the fastest express to career derailment! Leadership success is achieved more upon your people savvy than your technical expertise.

(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2011

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