Though things have changed a bit in today’s world of billion-dollar tech start-ups, for the most part, professionals have to work their way up the ladder before they become a manager or a member of the C-suite.
Don’t wait until a promotion comes to start working on your management skills. By taking the proactive steps to improve these necessary leadership qualities, you increase the likelihood your boss will recommend you for the next management position that opens up. Here are 10 ways you can do that:
1. Be passionate in everything you do
There are aspects of every job that are less appealing than the rest of the gig. Rather than going through the motions with respect to your least favorite parts of the job, try to bring passion to all of your assignments — even the mind-numbing ones. Develop a reputation that everything you put your name on is done thoroughly, quickly, and passionately.
2. Communicate clearly and effectively
Have you ever worked at a job where management told you of major changes taking place effective immediately? It doesn’t feel so good to be completely blindsided by huge news at a place you spend so much time at.
Great leaders keep their teams informed of all major issues and news going on within an organization. So try hard to communicate better with the rest of your team. And remember, communication involves both talking and listening.
3. Face challenges and uncertainty with determination
Great leaders innovate. They try to do things that have never been done before. Stepping into the unknown, these folks are bound to encounter all sorts of uncertainty. Whereas some workers buckle under pressure, leaders thrive when they’re faced with a challenge. They invest all their energies in success, and they encourage their staffs to follow their lead.
You’ll be a manager one day. But in the meantime, volunteer for hard assignments and knock them out of the park.
4. Embody positivity
We’ve all had a coworker who was a Negative Nancy. As much as you may have liked that person in your life, it’s fair to say ole Nancy got on your nerves at least a couple of times. That’s because when everyone’s working their butt off, it doesn’t really help to have someone complain about everything.
So don’t complain. Try to be as positive as you can. When the going gets tough, keep your mouth shut and smile.
5. Learn, and never stop learning
The best managers in the world understand their limitations. And they work hard to overcome them. These folks understand that education is a lifelong process. If you hope to be a leader one day, take the time right now to learn as much as you can about everything you possibly can.
Of course, it’s probably wise to learn about management, your industry, and other relevant tools and technologies instead of trying to become the office trivia wizard.
6. Tell the truth
When was the last time you found out somebody blatantly lied to you? Take a minute to think about how you felt the exact moment you knew so-and-so wasn’t telling you the truth. Feels awful, doesn’t it?
While some lies hurt worse than others, nobody likes it when their boss lies about what’s going on at work. So focus on being as truthful as you can as often as you can. Your coworkers will appreciate your honesty.
7. Inspire creativity and innovation
Successful leaders are always trying to improve. That statement applies to both themselves and the organizations they lead. Even if you’re not a manager yet, you can still innovate within your company’s walls.
Believe it or not, more and more employees are beginning to proactively take ownership of projects or departments within their companies, a trend that’s given birth to the rise of the “intrapreneur.” Do you have a killer idea? Test it out and put it into action. Show initiative. Your bosses and coworkers will notice.
8. Reassess your approach to work
Are you taking things too seriously? Do you not care about your work enough? Great leaders are calm, cool, and collected as often as is humanly possible. They take their work very seriously, but at the same time, they understand that there are more important things in life, like family, friends, and health.
If you see yourself as a leader in the future, why not take a step back to reassess your approach to work today. Sometimes you just need to recalibrate.
9. Care about your coworkers
When you care about your coworkers, work becomes fun. Not only are you guys going to the office every day to pursue your organization’s goals, you also get to know new people, hear amazing stories, and crack jokes.
Don’t expect to be promoted if you aren’t friendly with the folks on your team and don’t know anything about what’s going on in their lives. Fantastic leaders aren’t afraid to talk to anyone, and they genuinely care about everyone’s well-being. No matter how well you know your team, you could always get to know them better. Don’t wait.
10. Understand your limitations
Great leaders understand that they can’t do everything on their own. So they don’t try to. Instead, they find the best people to help them meet their objectives. If you want to be a manager, you need to be in tune with your strengths and weaknesses.
While you can try to improve the areas where you’re weaker, understand that no one is perfect. When you know your weaknesses, you’re more likely to seek assistance on the things you do worst — which bodes well for the success of the company.
You may want to be a manager. You might even think you’re well-qualified for such a position right this second. But the world rarely works according to our own schedules.
So instead of waiting around for your boss to call you into their office once a new senior position opens up to gauge whether you might be the right candidate, take proactive steps right now to develop the leader within you. That way, when the next position opens up, your boss will already know who to fill it with — because you already will have demonstrated your superior level of commitment.