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  • Linda R. Taliaferro

How to Be Seen as a Leader

No one wants to hire someone for a senior leadership position in the hope that they’re going to be successful.

To get a next-level position, people above you need to see what you can do and believe that you are going to do a good job. But how do we demonstrate that we’d be good in a leadership position if we aren’t actually working in one?

Make sure you’re visibly building relationships

People need to know how you think, to see that you are a strategic thinker who can drive initiatives to closure, and operate with integrity. That can look different for each workplace, but I encourage people to take time to get to know people on the team. What do they enjoy doing? What are they good at? What’s the most frustrating aspect of their job? Be on the ground and let your team see you making efforts to see the big picture.

Be the calm

If there’s a chaotic situation where a meeting has gone off the rails, or maybe the presentation has been taken over by another subject that’s putting the success of the project at risk, be the voice of reason. Step up and pivot the conversation towards a resolution, or at least to a list of action items people can go execute. Keeping a level head is a powerful way to demonstrate leadership.

Get out of your comfort zone

This one terrified me when I started working. All I wanted was to keep my head down and do the best work that I could. But ultimately, I did far more professional growth by signing up for initiatives that scared me and then fumbling through them than I ever did by staying in my bubble aspiring to be perfect enough to someday get promoted. Growth happens while you’re doing the work, not hovering in complacency. Get out there and show people you’re not afraid to get your boots on the ground.

Support other people who are struggling

If you have a team member facing a difficult problem or reckoning with a skill gap, you can demonstrate leadership by stepping in to support them even if it’s not your responsibility. By lending a helping hand, you help their self-confidence and establish yourself as a resource they can rely on, and that trust factor is huge. Your well-timed aid might earn you an ally for the rest of your career, and that’s a powerful tool for showing leadership influence.

Ultimately, being seen as a leader comes from walking the walk and talking the talk. Even without a leadership position on your business card, you can still actively lead your team. It takes practice and a little grit, but it’s possible. The opportunity might come when someone approaches you with an opportunity, or it might be as simple as raising your hand when a project is proposed. Either way, don’t run from it. Rise to the challenge.

Need a helping hand getting there? Let’s get together and talk about your specific situation. Click here to schedule a consultation with me.

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