Positioning yourself for leadership
Do you plan on taking on a leadership role during your career?
Perhaps you are an emerging leader, already inspiring others to follow you.
As you already know, becoming a leader isn’t just a matter of taking on the role or telling others what to do. There is far more to leadership than that, and most of it begins with you.
Let’s take a look at the two main things you need to think about when taking on the role of a leader.
What do you want to be known for?
When you think about leaders you know or you are currently working with, there is often a phrase you use to describe them and it’s based on their attitude and skills. For example, you might refer to one as a great listener or to another as inspiring. They have become known for these qualities because they’ve demonstrated them time after time.
What words would you like people to use when describing you as a leader?
The former question (What do you want to be known for?) primarily focused on your personal qualities.
This question addresses the achievements that often come about because of those qualities. For example, “She showed us how well diversity can work in our workplace” or “It was because of her that we developed our mentor program….”
The answer to this question will reveal a lot about your values and what’s important to you in the long term.
Position yourself as an authentic leader
Instead of just thinking about it, pull out your notebook and let’s do some work here and look at what kind of leader you are and want to be.
As soon as you put pen to paper you’ll notice your concentration improve and your clarity. It’s worth doing this exercise at least annually because the changing answers will reflect your personal growth.
Take the time now and divide your page into two columns.
In the first column, list your leadership role models. Who are the leaders that you’ve known and admired?
In the second column, list the attributes that you admire in each leader. Don’t limit yourself. Let the thoughts flow.
Now take a good long look at your answers.
Some of the attributes you admire in others will already be part of you. However, there will be some that aren’t.
- Which are you already good at?
- What are your strengths?
- There will be areas in which you are not so strong.
Choose two or three and focus on those. Ask yourself;
How could you improve on those key traits or characteristics but do so with authenticity?
Should you consider leadership coaching or mentoring?
Do you need training or will they improve with practice?
Remember, this exercise isn’t about imitating others. You don’t have to be ‘like’ someone else to be the perfect leader. It’s about knowing yourself, inside out, and acting according to your values. It’s about defining the kind of leadership you wish to display and positioning yourself exactly where you want to be. Only then can you be your authentic self as a leader.