Two Ways to Become a Leader

Don't Be A FollowerEveryone wants to be looked up to. Do you want to be the popular kid? The leader in your group of friends? A role model to kids? Or do you want to be the boss? I’d argue that all of the things I mentioned are equivalent to “being the boss.”

As I (and you) start climbing the ole corporate ladder, you’ll start thinking of how to get ahead of your peers. It boils down to a combination of things. First, do you have the ability and knowhow? Second, can you be relied upon to educate and lead your former peers if you get the promotion?

Of course, it’s much easier to want to be a leader than to actually be one. If it were easy, then wouldn’t everyone be a leader, and therefore, nobody? (I just got philosophical.) So, as a junior resource in my company, what do I see in leaders?  I’ll focus on two things that I’ve noticed in my organization.

Effectively Communicate

This is probably the toughest one to master. Some people are naturally great speakers, and some aren’t. So what can you do if you are not? Look for a local Toastmasters chapter. Toastmasters is a club with over 14,000 clubs in over 125 countries that seeks to make people more comfortable in front of audiences. Practice makes perfect of course, if you start giving speeches, you’ll naturally become more confident and a better speaker.

Simply communicating your thoughts is not nearly enough. Informing is not enough. You need to be articulate and thoroughly (but efficiently) say what you mean to in a way that inspires, motivates, and persuades. The last one may be the most important. Taking persuasive speaking classes will help (trust me, I’ve done it). Once you can logically convince others to see your side of an argument, you’ll be surprised how it changes how people perceive you.

Be Decisive and Courageous

In sticky situations, your senior leaders will canvas for ideas. They’ll ask your manager for thoughts who will, in turn, ask for thoughts from you. Can you provide a creative deal structure that’ll get the deal done? Or how about enticing sales terms that the customer loves without giving up returns? (For example, can you sell a product at a loss but with a more lucrative service contract?)

Create something that adds value (instead of simply doing your job) and you’ll earn the eye and respect of your manager. Remember, impressing your seniors is the only way to become a leader at work. You have to be willing to find a firm branch, perch on it, and get noticed!

The Bottom Line

In short, doing your job well will only get you so far. If you want to be a leader you’ve got to do more. You’ve got to go above and beyond. To be cliché, think outside of the box because that’s what your company’s leadership team wants. Take risks, stray from your company’s conventional solutions, take on responsibility, and simply do more than your job description.


6 Responses to Two Ways to Become a Leader

  1. When my hubs was still studying in college, he build a school organization, he was the president until he graduated. I can say that having a good communication skills is just one good factor that you will become a good team leader.
    Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way recently posted…How Easy is it to Fix and Flip a House?My Profile

    • Jay says:

      If you can communicate effectively, you portray confidence. People aren’t as complicated as we make them out to be! Make them believe in you and they’ll follow you and work for you!

  2. Good advice! I think effective communication is paramount. The ability to articulate an idea in writing is vital in my current position and I’ve had to hone my tactics over the years. My bosses just do not respond to ideas that aren’t fully fleshed out and well-written. It’s a good skill to have, I think, in all facets of life.
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…11 Frugal Hacks to Stay Warm and Save Money This WinterMy Profile

    • Jay says:

      Agree. I had a causal conversation with a hiring manager for a job recently and the only question of substance he asked me was “how would you grade your writing?” Keep in mind I work in banking… he didn’t care about my talent for numbers or with Excel. Just my writing. Shows how important it is!

  3. This is a great post! I am a horrible communicator, if I’m being honest. I definitely know it’s something I need to work on.
    Hustle + Save recently posted…Sell Your Stuff October ResultsMy Profile

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