Many people come to me for career advice and to ask how they can get into a leadership position.
I tell them all the same thing…and that takes about four minutes.
First you have to be technically competent in something, so pick a job or line of business and become an expert in that line of business or role. Learn something new about your business every single day. Ask lots of questions.
After you do that, work really hard on being organized and disciplined. You may need to take a Time/Life Management class to understand the huge responsibility that you have to be organized as a leader and manager of others. If you can’t get things done and on time, it really does not matter how much you know. Credibility is everything. Most people are very disorganized. Are you one of them?
Next you need to make sure that you have a very positive and can-do attitude . . . and that you are flexible and willing to take on any assignment with a positive attitude. No whiners apply. Leadership is a 24/7 responsibility. The hard part of leadership is that you have to do it everyday.
Last, but not least, make sure that you understand what great leadership looks like and what the expectations are for leadership behaviors and performance from the people you lead. I suggest you read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and also read my 12 Great Leader Strategies for practical common sense leadership strategies and behaviors which apply to any person and to any organization.
My book which will be published on October 14, 2008 will reveal 10 common sense leadership strategies with clear tactics on how any individual can be an effective leader in all parts of their life. The title is not firmed up yet. I will tell you more later. This will be the perfect Christmas or birthday present for someone. I plan to give many of them out. That is the end of my self promotion for today.
The next thing you need to do is be great in your performance. You need to stand out above the rest by doing the things described above. You just have to be better than everyone else to stand out and to get your break in life. You can relax later when you are my age.
Finally, you need to be a continuous learner.
- You must work hard every day to become even more technically competent in whatever line of work you decide to take on.
- You must work hard every day to be more and more organized.
- You need to learn a lot about the possibilities that technology can bring to bear on your business.
- You must pay great attention to becoming a better and better leader until people say that you are a great leader and they are glad you are their leader.
So now that you have read this, what are you going to do about it? If you are not satisfied with your progress you need to change your approach. Be honest with yourself. What is holding you back? Ask someone you trust what exactly they observe in your performance and behavior which is affecting your reputation in a negative way. Lack of self awareness is the main reason people end up not achieving their dreams in life. Many many leaders and wanna be leaders at every level are living in self denial. They think they are great. Many are not. If they only knew what people were thinking about them behind their backs they would not be proud of their leadership performance.
Do these things . . . and you should have no problem attaining and sustaining a leadership role! . . . Lee