You can be a leader even if you don’t have a title. But if you want to achieve that title and the team leader or manager position, you’ll have to reconcile a dilemma. Despite having yet to have a leadership role, you must demonstrate leadership at work to those who make promotion decisions.
Working on a team creates leadership moments you’ve taken advantage of in the past. You may not have known about them or recognised them.
In this post, I will share five ways you can demonstrate leadership at work so you can be aware of those moments, act on them, and make a case for why you are the leader your organisation needs:
1. Take responsibility for your actions
Be the first to volunteer for new tasks that apply to your skill set when new assignments arise. Note: You don’t have to volunteer for everything, and you shouldn’t — just those that provide you with an opportunity to use or develop your skills.
In addition, take responsibility for your contributions — even when projects go wrong. It is common for people to shift blame and make excuses, but great leaders take responsibility for problems and work to find solutions. A commitment to responsibility is also what differentiates aspiring leaders from inevitable leaders.
2. Include others in your plans
Leaders must believe that the team’s success outweighs any individual’s success. To demonstrate this, you should ensure that others are included in meetings, brainstorming sessions, and critical decisions. The extent to which you can involve others in your projects or offer to help others with their projects shows the level to which you are ready to lead.
As you collaborate more, you’ll gain a broader understanding of various experiences and skill sets and create relationships with people who may be a part of the team you lead one day.
As a leader, you should be able to involve others in your projects or offer to help others with their projects.
3. Be bold and speak up
Be willing to share your ideas in meetings, be ready to offer feedback to colleagues and your supervisor, and champion ideas from yourself and your team in meetings when decisions are being made. Getting your ideas out there doesn’t mean you must be an extroverted, loud person, constantly thinking.
If you have difficulty getting your voice heard during a group meeting, you can speak up privately with the people you want to listen to your ideas — either through an email or one-on-one conversation. It’s up to you to speak up if you have a great idea — and doing so will help you to be recognised as a potential leader.
4. Make sure you ask questions
It is more than just a way to speak up when you don’t have an idea to offer. Asking questions during team meetings can help people think through their thoughts and improve them.
When you ask intelligent questions, you will eventually be seen as a resource for advice and assistance — perhaps even given a new leadership role. In addition to showing your dedication to the team, asking questions demonstrates your ability to see things others may not. Furthermore, it allows you to contribute even when you are not submitting an idea.
5. The final step is to deliver
Deliver your work on time and to a high standard. Make sure you can also deliver on new assignments whenever you volunteer. Most often in organisations, the people who get fast-tracked for leadership roles are the ones who are perceived as high performers.
Using these five activities, you’ll not only be noticed during leadership moments, but you’ll also be able to develop your leadership skills — effectively creating your own leadership development program. In addition to giving you something to discuss in an interview, they’ll also provide you with new tools to improve your work.
By doing so, you’ll become a leader who guides your team to their best performance even before you’re given that title.