Be A Leader – Even If You Are Not The Boss!

2In a post a few days ago, I wrote a post about people who want to be leaders, but do not act like leaders. They want the title and the role, but do not realise that leadership today is no longer merely a title or a role. It is a quality and they have not caught up with that new reality! I made the point that people need to begin to act like a leader before they have the title or the role. This post follows on from that.

Everyone can be a leader today. You don’t have to have a leadership title or role. In fact, the leaders of the future are the employees who act like leaders in every situation in which they find themselves because they want to make a difference. They are the horizontal leaders. They stand out from the crowd and they attract the attention of those with the power to give them the title and the role.

If you ignore the opportunities that horizontal leadership offers, you will be overtaken by those who seize them. Leadership no longer depends on seniority or length of tenure, or maleness or technical expertise. Here is what you can begin to do right now to become the leader of the future.

Become The Leader Of The Future.

1.     Manage Up.

Build positive and collaborative relationships with your senior managers and CEO. Understand what makes them tick, what their goals for the organisation are and commit to working with them to achieve them. Go the extra mile with them. Make yourself visible. Ask for stretch assignments. Shadow them in their work. They have enormous power to influence your future.

2.     Build Connections and Relationships – Create A Network of Empowered and Empowering People.

Your network is your net-worth and creating that network needs to be a priority for anyone who wants to take their career on and up. Surrounding yourself with key people from both within and without your professional or industry sector is a must for aspiring leaders. These are people who have influence and authority to enhance your career opportunities.

3.     Get Yourself a Mentor.

No one goes on and up on their own. Find someone who has been where you want to go and whose approach you admire and whose values fit with yours. Ask them if they will met with you regularly and help you go where they have been.

4.     Discover Your Strengths, But Also What Challenges You Most.

Work with your strengths to enhance your performance, but make a commitment to address your challenges, maybe with the help of your manager or your mentor. Be prepared to learn, grow, change and transform yourself. be prepared to move out of your comfort zone to do that.

5.     Be Conscious Of The Personal Brand You Are Building – The Brand Called You.

Act like a leader. Build your leadership presence. This is about the way you dress and groom yourself, the way you relate to others personally and by phone, email and via social media. It is about the way you manage yourself professionally, the way you speak and act, your self-leadership qualities. It is about being acutely aware of the impact you have on people, the way you leave them feeling after you have spent time with them. This all makes up your personal brand. This is your trademark.

6.     Be Pro-Active.

You have to be a forward thinking, a solution focused person. You don’t get stuck in reacting negatively to what has happened. You are a “Can Do” person, a glass half full, not a glass half empty, person. You are an empowering presence in a group, providing energy and enthusiasm. People want to be around pro-active people because they are so empowering.

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