Maybe you can’t wait until you get that promotion. Or maybe you can’t wait to get your career going so you can become the boss. Some senior leaders are waiting patiently for that “final promotion” they’ve been working on for their whole career. All of that may be fine, but can I suggest a different mindset?
Leadership is title agnostic. You can lead no matter where you are in an organization, because leadership means a lot of different things and NONE of them are directly connected to your job title. Being supportive, kind, respectful, smart and involved can happen at any level. Listening well and showing attention to detail will make your work standout no matter your specific responsibilities. So here are some different ways to put this philosophy into practice right now.
Don’t hold back: This thought process usually starts with someone not feeling they have a place to offer a thought or suggestion. “Well, that’s what a manager does, so I’m not going to say anything.” Great suggestions often come directly from the people who actually do the work! Speak up when you’ve given something some thought and feel it can benefit the operation. Too many terrific ideas get lost because no one speaks up.
Don’t get distracted by your salary: If you have to wait to get paid to actually engage at work, you’ll never get the raise – and will probably lose your job. Connecting effort with your pay can put you on a path of chasing a number instead of satisfaction. If your employer doesn’t appreciate your effort, it may be time to look for another job or start your own business.
Don’t wait: Too many people think a leadership role is for someone who is older. Great, capable leaders come from all age ranges and that fact makes the workplace even better. Don’t be the person who sees opportunity pass them by because of some pre-set rule book they have in their head.
Not all leadership roles are the same: If your thought process immediately goes to a leader having 20-hour days and endless headaches, maybe you should re-think that idea. New leaders can set boundaries and ask for some limits on their responsibilities. Try writing your own job description instead of just accepting the old school job cliché.
We miss out on too many good ideas when we limit ourselves. It’s important to be thoughtful about suggestions you might offer at work or how you speak up. However, I’d much rather have a few half-baked ideas get in the conversation if it means we also hear leadership thoughts from people who are not heard from enough.