You don’t need to have a specific job title or level of responsibility to be a leader at work. In fact, if you want to reach that level eventually, it’s essential to sharpen your leadership skills while you’re still an individual contributor so that when the time comes, you’re top of mind for promotions. Check out these six tips to help you stand out as a leader at work:
1. Master Your Current Work
Start with the fundamentals to make a strong, lasting impression on your superiors and colleagues alike by mastering your current work. No matter what task you’re working on, give it your all and complete it to a high standard and with a positive attitude. Demonstrating that you take your role seriously will strengthen your reputation as an engaged worker who would do great things if promoted.
2. Be a Risk Taker
Exceptional leaders don’t stay within the confines of their comfort zones. Be a risk-taker at work, and do things that make you a little nervous but are necessary for growth. This includes suggesting new ideas or saying yes instead of no thanks to a task you don’t have much experience in, such as public speaking.
3. Act with Integrity
Before you can be trusted with more authority, you must make it clear that you could be trusted to do the right thing and not abuse it. Act with integrity at all times at work by avoiding anything that could come across as dishonest, from gossiping around the watercooler to slacking off on company time.
4. Volunteer for Opportunities
Always be on the lookout for any chances to serve in a leadership role, even in the smallest manner. Volunteer for opportunities whenever they arise as a way to hone your leadership skills, such as offering to show new employees around and get them acclimated or being in charge of the office charitable drive.
5. Show Interest in Others
The most effective leaders proactively gather a variety of perspectives so they can make the most informed decisions. Even if you’re not in a decision-making role quite yet, you can strengthen the skill set by making it a point to show interest in others in your workplace. Ask questions about what they think, and if you have differing opinions, aim to learn more about their perspective instead of just defending your own viewpoint.
6. Ask for Feedback
If you want to know what you need to do to be seen as an effective leader, don’t just guess – ask for feedback. Meet with your boss and let them know you’re trying to improve your leadership skills and would like to know your strengths and also where you need to focus your efforts to grow. Plus, this has the added benefit of your boss knowing your desire to grow within the company so they can consider you for future opportunities.
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