I think that many people when they see something about leadership or being a leader automatically dismiss it as not pertaining to them. After all, if they aren’t a manager or don’t intend to manage, the information really doesn’t have anything for them to pay attention to, right? No, not necessarily.
Leadership skills are something that will enhance your ability to be successful in your career no matter what direction you head. If you pay attention to the people you have seen who have any amount of career success, you will notice that they exhibit some of the same behaviors. Certainly, these skills are the basis for promotion and ultimately becoming a manager, but even if that isn’t where you want to head, you will discover career success by mastering them. (It also doesn’t hurt that with these skills, the boss will love you!)
Let’s look at some of the skills that a leader possesses and why they will serve you well throughout your career:
Shows initiative. This is the skill of seeing something that needs to be done and doing it without being assigned to do it. This might include generating ideas, volunteering for projects and looking for a better solution. Bosses love people who do this, because as much as you might not realize it, they prefer for you to “see” what needs to be done rather than them having to tell you. It’s a win all the way around.
Accepts responsibility. This may sound funny, but there are some people who simply don’t want to be responsible for too much. But you can be. Be responsible for yourself and perhaps others. Rally others to get something accomplished or improve a process. This will help the manager as they can’t always know everything that is going on or head up all efforts to improve things.
Communicates effectively. You don’t have to “pull” information out of leaders – they keep you well informed. Some people think this is self promotion, and it really is to some degree, but our work doesn’t speak for itself – we do. Communication is the weakest link in most groups; and that can lead to all kinds of issues. When you keep people in the loop, informed of things in process, as well as completed you save yourself and other people time. They will also be really pleased with you.
Thinks positively. Granted even the most positive of us likes to complain and vent. Leaders keep that to a minimum and tend to think about what’s possible. It’s motivational to others.
Looks to the future. A person can really be a leader when they think about a bigger picture than just today and how things are done now. They look for continuous improvement and ongoing learning. This spurs the thinking and ideas for how things could be made better.
As you can see, none of these things are difficult and there is no mention of promotion. This is the bucket list of all hopeful managers – hopeful that they will have a department full of people who are leaders.