According to a report published on Deloitte Insights, 86% of companies interviewed in a survey say that developing new leaders is an urgent or important need. This means that the majority of organizations would prefer to groom a number of their employees who have the potential to handle higher positions than to hire externally.
Taking up leadership training courses is a great way to boost your confidence and gain the additional skills and knowledge you need to be an effective leader. Once you think you're ready to take on a leadership role, you can demonstrate your readiness and competency through these strategic actions:
1. Bring extra value to the table
When you were still applying for your job, during the interview, you were probably asked the question, “What can you bring to the table?” You probably answered this all-important question by enumerating a list of your accomplishments, skills, experiences, etc. But once you're ready to take on a higher position, you'll need to bring more to the table.
This means taking on more work that you're sure you can do competently and complete. If you have a set of tasks you need to do daily, go beyond the norm and put in more effort in your output.
For instance, if you're in retail, don't just aim to close the required or minimum number of sales every day. Work on getting more sales and giving patrons better customer experiences. By going beyond what you and your boss are used to, you are showing that you're ready for more responsibilities.
2. Solve a big or recurring problem
Problem-solving is one crucial skill that all leaders should have. You can demonstrate that you have this highly prized ability by actually solving a huge problem or one that never seems to go away in the workplace.
Take the time to study certain processes or the office overall. Find out what causes delays in operations, dissatisfaction among customers, and discontent among your co-employees.
Do some research and recommend research-backed strategies or solutions to solve these problems. Work with the HR team, manager or business owner, and your co-workers to know if these are feasible fixes.
Once the new processes will be implemented, make sure you take a proactive stand and take the lead in accepting and following these changes.
3. Take ownership of your work
Humility is another trait people look for in leaders, and it is something that you should have as well. However, you should also own your contribution to success.
When others (especially your boss) notice and praise your accomplishments, accept and thank them. If you took the lead in a successful project, acknowledge your teammates' efforts, but make sure you are aware of the important role you played in its realization.
4. Generously give credit to those who deserve it
Unless you took on a project yourself, always recognize and call out the efforts of your teammates. This is a crucial element in demonstrating and cultivating great teamwork. Appreciating the work of your colleagues shows your boss that you are paying attention to other people's input and that you understand how everyone's work contributes to the success of the company.
Recognition is one of the biggest things employees want to get from their bosses for inspiration. Even if you're not a boss yet, acknowledge your colleagues' efforts; they (and your superior) will appreciate you for it.
5. Inspire others
Genuinely acknowledging the hard work of others is a wonderful way to get the respect and admiration of your co-workers. However, take your appreciation a step further by motivating them to be better and to perform at a higher capacity as well.
Aside from leading by example, find different ways to inspire your colleagues. If some of them are experiencing burnout, offer tips on how they can overcome this. In case you've already experienced the same thing before, share some things about what you went through and how you successfully managed it.
If some of your co-workers want to become better employees, or are also aspiring for a higher position as well, encourage them to join you in team coaching sessions. All of you will learn something valuable from these programs. It is also an amazing way to let others know you are thinking of their welfare and success too; this, in turn, will encourage them to strive for more.
6. Know how to listen
Listening to another person with an open mind is a highly admired quality. It is essential to building and sustaining quality relationships.
If you know how to listen with an empathetic ear and open mind, you can develop a culture of passion and energetic teamworks. This is a clear indication that you have what it takes to be a leader. These are also traits that employers and managers look for and value in their next leaders.
7. See the big picture
Developing the ability to see and think big now will help you become an effective employee and leader. This refers to the capacity to keep an eye on the bigger vision of successful leadership without getting affected or caught up in various obstacles or issues at work.
Big picture thinking will also enable you to act proactively instead of reactively. When you already have this trait, your boss will know you are ready for a leadership role. This is because this quality is highly helpful in effectively managing people and time, and with turning challenges into opportunities.
8. Find, define and strengthen your voice
Building your personal brand is a by-word in the corporate world today. This is something that job-seekers are encouraged to focus on.
Finding and building up your brand's voice and standing out from the crowd in a positive way will also help others see you as a potential leader. This can also spill over to your convictions; staying true to what you believe in is a good sign of a remarkable leader.
There is nothing wrong with pulling out all the stops if you're keen on taking a leadership role. After all, aiming for a higher position is a goal worth working hard for. It is rewarding in many aspects and it is a clear sign that you're on the right track to achieving greater success.