Collaborative post. Do you consider yourself a leader in your current place of employment? If you are not currently then is this something you aspire to? Leadership is an elusive skill – it’s not something that is routinely taught in schools or universities in the UK and you can’t necessarily get a paper qualifiation in it.
So how do you step up and prove in the workplace that you are fit for a leadership position? Maybe some of these tips will help you.
Being able to take responsibility for both the good and bad things that happen in your area of responsibility is a key leadership characteristic. You can’t take all of the credit for something good and refuse to take the blame when something doesn’t go to plan. Being able to take responsibility for everything is one of the best qualities that a leader can have.
The leader’s job is to make sure that everyone in the team has the skills and the time to complete all of the tasks allocated to them. If they fail then the fault is with the leader as much as with the team.
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Support Your Colleagues
A true leader is somebody who is great at supporting their colleagues. It’s no good to have people in executive positions who intimidate or belittle their colleagues because they have a better title or more power than them.
The most inspiring leaders are skilled at finding the greatness in others and support their colleagues’ perspectives, and they will always listen to what others have to say. If they disagree, they will make sure that whatever they say is constructive, rather than insulting. A true leader understands that to bring out the best in others, they must listen to them, value them, and actually treat them like people.
Be Willing To Try New Things
As a leader, making yourself uncomfortable should be a regular part of your life. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is difficult but is something you have to get used to if you’re going to be a leader. Be willing to get your hands dirty, and take on the project that nobody wants.
Sometimes you need to step up and do the hard thing first, so you can then demonstrate to your team that it is possible and inspire them to follow.
Make A Plan And Do It
Lots of people out there claim they want to be a leader but they tend to talk too much about it without actually showing any results. Making a plan and actually getting on with it and doing it is a great leadership quality. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, either. A great leader always sticks by their word. Do your best to underpromise and overdeliver on every project you undertake on behalf of your team
Be Open To Criticism
A good leader should be open to constructive criticism, not somebody who buries their head in the sand and only wants to hear good things about themselves. They are always open to tips on how to improve and be better, and actually put them to good use too.
As a leader, it is often possible to learn from your subordinates, and a certain amount of humility can go a long way
Display Emotional Intelligence
Amazing leaders need to have certainty about them. This doesn’t mean that you need to hold the answer to everything, but that you should have emotional fitness and be confident you can come up with the answer at some stage.
Being able to keep a sense of humour, flexibility, compassion, and creativity in a stressful environment will do you a world of good in times of chaos.
Your workplace has an image and brand that you need to be aware of, and you also need to be aware of the impact you make on this. How do others perceive you? You need to care about this if you want to land a management role. Strong self-awareness means understanding your strengths and knowing where you can make an impact.
Come Up With Strategic Solutions
Coming up with strategic solutions is often what people are looking for their leader to do. This is a skill which can, to a certain extent be taught – there are degree courses, taught online which can help you with this so you can study a relevant course outside of work hours.
Many people sign up for online courses at the University of California where they learn how to evaluate, develop and implement policy, track, allocate and raise funds, and more with the Master of Public Administration course. Aiming to continue learning and build these skills will be a huge help.
Look For A Mentor
Looking for others to network with and work alongside is a great trait of a leader. Having a network of peers with different skills will be a huge advantage to you in the future. You may also be able to find a mentor.
A mentor is somebody who can guide you and take an objective view of what you are doing and trying to achieve. You don’t pay for a mentor; the relationship often takes form naturally. You might ask somebody to be yours, but the key is to be prepared for them to say no.
When you meet a person you admire, ask them if they would be open to having a 20-minute meeting with you to answer some career questions. If it goes well, ask if they would be willing to meet on a regular basis. If they agree, you’ve got a mentor. If you can’t find somebody who is willing to be your mentor, you might consider paying for a coach who can guide you.
At the end of the day sometimes the only thing standing between you and a leadership role is the confidence to apply for it. But hopefully, these tips will help you to be more sure of your own ability before you take the step up