There has never been a better time to develop your leadership skills. According to Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial Survey, millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025.
Think about that statistic for a moment because the implications are enormous. Within a few years, Baby Boomers will have all but completed the handoff of leadership responsibilities to Generations X and Y. If you are interested in moving into management, now is the ideal time to raise your hand and take the lead.
In anticipation of this global demographic shift, many companies are developing high-potential programs to accelerate the development of their up-and-coming leaders. Here are a few tips to incorporate in your work life, demonstrating your ability to the people who can take your career to the next level.
Deliver Superior Performance
Don’t just meet expectations; exceed them every single time. Be recognized as someone who possesses high potential starts with superior performance.
Attitude is an integral part of leadership. Speak kindly to your coworkers and care about their welfare. Take an interest in them – families, hobbies, pets, sports, etc. You don’t need to be their best friend but creating a sense of community goes a long way. Find gratification in your work and how it serves that community.
Cultivate a Followership
Do you have the ability to inspire others to collaborate and take action? If so, you have or are building a followership. To be recognized for future leadership potential, you should be able to cultivate a followership before you get there. People will follow a talented leader as they want to be inspired and motivated. So, it is essential to learn what makes people tick as well as what qualities they respect and then begin to cultivate those traits.
Be Boldly Self-Aware
Do you know your workplace brand? In other words, are you aware of the unique impact you make in your office and how others perceive you? If you want a management position in your future, you should.
That’s because emerging leaders must possess strong self-awareness. Understand your strengths and where you can impact. Once you do, be brave enough to make that impact.
If you have not yet uncovered your brand or your strengths, try taking a trusted manager, mentor or colleague to describe how he or she thinks others perceive you. Listen for positive traits that are reference more than once and then aggressively seek out opportunities to apply those strengths.
Thank people for commenting on your performance and recommending steps you can take to further your professional growth. Offer constructive and tactful criticism that enables others to do the same – after gaining permission to share said criticism. Again, show respect with boundaries and the capabilities of others to hear you.
Strive to be a valuable team member. Keep an eye on anyone who is struggling so you can create mutually beneficial relationships. Offer positive words of encouragement and guidance. Above all, let your colleagues know they can count on you when they need your time and expertise.
To thrive in a competitive workplace, you must strive to think broadly and more strategically. You need to question how things could be done better and add value to the organization, no matter what role you are in. For example, let’s say you notice several customers with similar complaints about your team’s product. Instead of reacting to each problem as it arises, try to determine the root cause or look for ways that your team might better anticipate customers’ needs.
One valuable element is the opportunity to learn and network with others in your cohort. You will develop an amazing network of impressive peers who will become your network of powerful business leaders one day.
But don’t wait to be in a leadership position to develop that group of contacts – start establishing relationships with leaders who can mentor and guide you right now. When you meet a person you admire, ask if he or she would be open to having a 20-minute meeting with you to answer some career-related questions. If it goes well, ask if he or she would be willing to meet regularly. If you get a yes, you have got a new mentor.
When you get the opportunity to take on a leadership role or program, make the most of it. Don’t be passive about it and immerse yourself completely to develop as a future leader.
Let us know in the comment section below how you position yourself as a leader in the workplace.