Become a leader before becoming the manager

You don’t necessarily have to be a manager to display leadership. Conversely, you have to be a leader to be an effective manager.

Leadership, like any other skill, can be acquired. Some might have an innate ability to connect with and lead people by virtue of their personality. You can always nurture leadership traits in yourself while preparing to take on a managerial role. It’s never too early to start thinking, acting and communicating like a leader.

In fact, displaying leadership qualities helps you progress faster through your career, be it getting a promotion, or a pay hike. But it’s all easier said than done. It’s hard work, but the rewards make it worthwhile. Here’s how you can bring out the leader in you:

Exceed expectations

  • Make your work stand out. Let it speak for you.
  • Exhibit punctuality. Get stuff done on time. How hard is that, really?
  • Never let anyone question your performance or the quality of your work. Show that you’re capable of doing more than what you’re entrusted with.
  1. Help others
  • Be there for your boss when they need you. Be that person they can fall back on.
  • Say yes more than you say no to requests for help from your higher ups.
  • Practice ‘steward leadership.’ In other words, focus on what your team and company need and lead by service.
  • Take responsibility for your team and own up to mistakes on behalf of your team. Help your peers and team members with work they’re struggling to do.

Seize opportunities: show you’re a leader

  • Never let an opportunity go to waste. Take on leadership roles, no matter how small. This could be as simple as organising a meeting or volunteering to be a part of community initiatives.
  • In addition to building leadership traits, people get to see your ability to lead. You may also impress your higher ups.

Solve problems

  • Take on challenges and solve problems.
  • Try to find solutions for ‘white space’ problems, ones that others shy away from or don’t even know exist.
  • Try to make business operations more efficient and improve your company’s margins at every turn.

Build relationships

  • Develop rewarding relations with seniors and industry experts. Learn from the best.
  • Your interactions with seniors might also create opportunities for you to display your skills, passion and knowledge of work.
  • Good relations with seniors can help you progress faster through your career.
  • Find role models and observe how they act and react to challenges. Try to emulate people you admire.

Share your aspirations

  • Let everyone know your ambitions. But, don’t go overboard and make it all about yourself. Rather, share how you’d like to do more for the company.
  • Let your seniors know you are ready to take up more responsibilities and a greater role.
  • Exude ‘humble confidence’, that is, be self assured in your abilities while being modest about your role and achievements. Don’t brag. Be humble.

Ultimately, know that being a leader is all about having a sense of belonging to your team, feeling ownership of the firm you work for and being able to identify with those who work with you. A leader looks out for the welfare of everyone who works with them and isn’t self-centred. The bottomline has to be collective growth and not individual success.

Thus, being a good leader requires a specific mindset and not just knowledge, skills or achievements. Otherwise, you’d just come across as being bossy and a showoff. Ask yourself why you want to be a leader and recalibrate your goals if you find you’re focused just on yourself.

Start changing your attitude by helping people out, no matter how small the task.More often than not, people will be grateful to you for helping them out. You’ll realise that it’s much more fulfilling than only caring for yourself and what’s more, you’ll have people who support you, like you and will have your back.

If you think you’re a leader and you’re ready for some big roles, you can find some great managerial positions online at sites like iimjobs.com. Apply today!

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