How to Prepare for Leadership Positions

Contributed article in our leadership series. Enjoy! – Kimberly

With several years of professional experience under your belt, a time will come when you feel you need to take your career to the next level and assume a leadership role in the organization you are working for.

This is when you now understand the complexities of the business and you have grown in your career to feel ambitious enough to lead other people. Of course, you need to back up your ambitions with a history of stellar performance otherwise no one will take you seriously. Even if you rise to the level you want, your subordinates won’t give you the respect that the office you hold deserves.

You need prepare well before you assume leadership roles.

Attitude Adjustment

Start working on your attitude if you want to be a leader. Attitude is the first signal that you are ready for the altitude. Do you sulk when given roles beyond your job description? If yes, then you need to change your attitude.

Does your boss know that he/she can assign you tasks and trust that you will complete them with minimal supervision? Do things that bothered you before; like impromptu tasks no longer bother you? In fact, you even find yourself more flexible these days and somehow understand that the only constant thing is change. If you no longer take last minute requests and disruptions from your boss personally you are well on your way there.

Become an Expert

If people already come to you for mentoring sessions then you might just fit the bill. You are already a leader if people come to you for advice on managing projects or other technicalities, depending on your expertise. They may also ask for advice on other work-related situations and topics.

Become so skilled that you are the go-to person on matters in your department. Continually improve your skill with research, courses and staying updated on industry trends.

See the Bigger Picture

Improve your problem-solving skills and find ways to improve the service delivery in your organization.

Leaders see their roles and the roles of their teams as a cog in the wheel that runs the organization. Go beyond your role and job description. They have a 360-degree view of the company goals, systems, structure and departments. More importantly, understand how the different of the company work and find ways of improving the process. Be careful not to come out as too pushy though.

If you can further your education through the Uncf Scholarships. A master’s degree can equip you with the skills to take up a leadership role.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is an important skill for a leader. It determines you relate with your colleagues on both a personal and professional level. Every effective leader has mastered emotional intelligence.

You should be able to read your environment and tailor your response or reactivation in a way that has the best-desired impact and achieves the goal, while at the same time communicating at the level of the concerned individuals.

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One Comment

  1. Excellent article, Kimberly! Learning and growing as a leader is a lifelong process; we never fully “arrive” at our destination. Even amazingly effective leaders need to continue to hone and refine their skills and approach. They best leaders are the most humble and emotionally intelligent enough to understand and live that everyday. If you’re interested in growing, we’ve got an in-depth article on the 19 Considerations for Improving your Emotional Intelligence as a Leader.

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