One of your 2013 resolutions may be to step up into a leadership position. But what can you do to make yourself ready for leadership?
Being in my mid-twenties, I have several friends who have been comfortable at their jobs up until this point, but now would like to lead. Some are frustrated since it seems the opportunity just isn’t available at their current job. If it’s not, that may mean looking for other opportunities, but it’s also possible to demonstrate leadership in small ways, without the official title.
Inc.com points out a few of these ways in “8 Opportunities to Lead in 2013.” These opportunities don’t focus on the title, but on a person’s actions. Are you acting as a leader would? All 8 of these points are excellent ones, and you should read all of them, but here are two to consider:
The moment you don’t let someone off the hook
Organizations are full of dropped commitments. Keeping people “on the hook” until their commitments are fulfilled can be uncomfortable for them, and for you. It is tempting to let them off prematurely, because you are causing their discomfort. For the greater good, resist. Accept that progress requires pressure, and it is your job to apply it responsibly.
The moment you simply say, “Well done”
This two-word statement carries tremendous positive influence when offered genuinely and on time.
I think the above two tips are hard for all of us to do. When a coworker comes to us with a list of reasons why she couldn’t get something done, or why she needs a few more days, it’s easy to want to be her friend and let her off the hook. But there is a danger is doing this too often, and people will start to take advantage of your leniency. Knowing when to put your foot down and apply the pressure is key to being a leader.
Acknowledging others for their accomplishments can also be difficult when you’re in a competitive mindset. I usually find this when I’m working with other young women in an office — they are far less likely to congratulate each other on a job well done. Remember that leadership also involves seeing the value in those around you. If a whole office could operate on one person, it would, be the reality is that you need a good team that likes working with you.
Consider these small ways that you can demonstrate leadership, and try them out at your office. And if you’re currently seeking a job, try joining organizations or nonprofits where you can help lead a project. Practice your skills there and everywhere you go — you never know who might see something in you and recommend you to your next job!
Check out other opportunities to lead on Inc.com.