You have the potential; develop it.
How do you get noticed as an up-and-coming leader, one who is a key member of the team? How do you set yourself apart so that you will be identified for career success ahead of others?
With a few consistent actions, you can develop your leadership potential, set yourself apart from the ordinary employee and be noticed as a future leader ahead of your peers.
1. Be a team player.
According to the Center for Creative Leadership’s World Leadership Survey, organizations are looking for leaders who are collaborative, inclusive and team-oriented. Helping your team deal with conflict, develop cohesion and work together will quickly set you apart to team leaders and managers.
2. Lead from where you are.
A leader isn’t always identified by a title. One of the most difficult things to do—but something that will get you noticed—is leading while not formally in charge. Improving communications and taking on difficult tasks gets you noticed by team leaders and managers. When it’s time for managers to move on to other opportunities, they will likely think of you first as the right one to move into their position.
3. Be an expert, but learn and master new skills.
Performing well in your current role is an excellent way to get noticed. After that, look around and identify what additional skills and jobs you can master. Stay on top of changes in your career field. Senior managers will notice people who have already demonstrated a willingness and aptitude to perform at a higher level, and who are eager to learn.
4. Be open to feedback and criticism, and use it to grow.
Ask your supervisor for corrective feedback. It might be difficult, but it demonstrates you are not only comfortable with your abilities, but that you take your career growth seriously and are willing to learn from mistakes. When you are criticized or you make a mistake, own it. Ask your manager to describe what the right approach would have been, so you have a clear expectation of what they would have done.
5. Demonstrate a firm understanding of client needs.
Up-and-coming leaders set themselves apart by looking for ways to improve products and streamline processes. Use every opportunity to communicate with customers to find out their wants and needs. Identifying ways to save money, while improving client experience, gets you noticed by senior managers because it also benefits their own careers.
6. Learn to communicate well.
Future leaders learn to speak and write well. They convey a clear understanding of what needs to be done and why. Speak truthfully and accurately—rather than emotionally—about challenges facing a task or project, and then give positive recommendations about how to overcome them.
7. Take actions and make recommendations for the good of the organization, not you.
Senior managers want employees who are fearlessly loyal to them and their team. When making recommendations that conflict with what’s going on, articulate in a positive way how it will be advantageous for the organization and the client. When it’s time to take credit, give it to the entire team. You will gain their loyalty, knowing your motives are for the good of the organization and not yourself.
Susan C. Foster