A good leader has the ability to connect with people, leading them to support and rally behind their vision. Executive Business Coach Penny Holburn says it’s therefore really important that a leader is able to set and achieve a vision.
“You need to have good communication skills and act with integrity,” she says. “It’s important that you are able to build the right teams and motivate your followers. You also need to be honest, be able to see reality as it is, and be able to tolerate and move through difficult situations.”
To ensure that your leadership qualities are noticed, aim to have a high level of self-awareness, take responsibility, and be committed to personal mastery on an ongoing basis.
How to get your leadership potential noticed:
Analyse and further your skills
Before you can be appointed to a leadership role, you need to prove that you would make a good leader. Consider how you plan to lead. What is your preferred leadership style? How do you react in stressful situations? Do others come to you for help? Are you regarded as a fair and approachable person?
Considering your leadership qualities will help you to identify your strengths and weakness. It’s advisable to sign up for and complete a relevant leadership or business course and make sure your boss is aware of this.
Volunteer for projects in which you can take on the role of a leader and make it count. Be proactive and come up with suggestions to problems before others do. Show an interest in aspects of the business that aren’t included in your job spec and suggest new initiatives that will help further the business. Show commitment, be positive and be committed to excellence in all you do.
Improve your communication skills
Analyse the different areas of communication (speaking, writing, presenting, listening) and identify which you excel at and which could do with some work. Then work towards improving your weak areas. For example, if you struggle at public speaking, practise in front of friends and family or join Toastmasters.
When it comes to interpersonal communication, you need to become fully aware of your communication with all individuals in your workplace. Keep a journal and document instances that you could have handled better and reflect on how you can improve next time.
Build relationships across all levels and departments in the company. A lot of leadership tasks are about managing relationships. You want to show your boss and others in the company that you can do this well.
Have a mentor
Choose someone who already has leadership experience. Meet to discuss your ambitions and map out a plan to achieve them. Meet regularly to discuss your progress and the way forward.
Set up a meeting with your boss and talk about your future prospects at the company. Mention that you want to move into leadership, discuss why and what positive contribution you would make as a leader. Add this to your career development plan. If your company does not have a career development plan, then proactively suggest one for yourself.