Although many professionals hold leadership positions in the workplace, not everyone is cut out for the responsibilities that come with the position of an effective leader. You might find yourself working for someone whose leadership skills are lacking—and you might believe you could do a better job at leading your team.
How to Unleash the Leader Within You
Although you’ll still have to follow your boss’s orders, it might help to find ways to exhibit your own leadership skills.
Actively participate in meetings
Meetings are often held on a regular basis to discuss the progress (or lack thereof) of the company. If you’ve surreptitiously rolled your eyes during these meetings, try actively participating to facilitate change in your department or company. Offer suggestions about which tactics work and which don’t, and listen to the suggestions of others. Listening to your coworkers and using their input can be valuable, and it can make those meetings worthwhile to you.
Communicate openly and often
Chances are that you don’t always see eye to eye with your boss—and that means communication is critical to a productive and cordial working relationship. For example: your team is working on a project and one of your team members has excellent marketing skills. You could suggest that she’d be a great fit for the marketing portion of the project. Make sure to give examples of the skills she’d bring to the project.
Keep track of e-mails and other messages you receive from your boss and your team members, and take your own notes during meetings. Try to avoid coming across as challenging your boss’s authority, and make sure to phrase your ideas tactfully. Focus on how your ideas can benefit the project as a whole, instead of simply concentrating on offering a better idea than your boss.
Although you may tactfully approach every suggestion you make to your boss, you still might not get the results you want—perhaps because your boss feels threatened. For this reason, you should always attempt to aim high when making suggestions.
Keep your avenues of communication open with your boss, but stay in contact with other leaders in your organization when you’re involved with solving a major company issue. Make sure you do your research, and always take a professional approach to every meeting and project. You might not be promoted on the spot, but your dedication, effort and ideas will certainly not go unnoticed.
Look for new opportunities
Of course, not every idea you have will be accepted, and you might still come up against resistance from your superior. If you find that you’re not getting opportunities to use your leadership skills, consider looking for new opportunities to sharpen your skills.
Since you’re probably already busy with your work load and other obligations, looking into online degree programs can be a good solution for balancing work life and your desire to work on your own professional development. Earning an online degree could allow you to prove that you are an effective leader and give you the extra credentials you need to find other opportunities where your abilities will be recognized and appreciated.
Finding the right way to exhibit your leadership skills may take some trial and error, and there’s no guarantee that your efforts to present yourself as an effective leader will result in a promotion or a title change right away. But with diligence, thoughtfulness and a desire to improve your company, your efforts to improve yourself and your company can yield benefits for you.
How do you bring out the effective leader within you?