How to Land a Leadership Role in 2015

This is the year you take the plunge.

You’ve been doing a fantastic job in your role so far, but you’re ready to take the next step and get into leadership. You know you can do it – but how do you prove to your managers that you’re ready?

The biggest secret to getting a leadership role is this: you don’t have to be given the title in order to be a leader. Even if you’re in an entry-level position, you can start acting like a leader. If you want to be promoted into leadership in 2015, now is the time to start building your own skills and putting them to use.

Next time your performance review rolls around – or that management position becomes available – you’ll be ready with concrete examples of what makes you leadership material.

Be open

To be a good leader, you need to open yourself up to new ideas, new experiences, and new outlooks.

Take a look around your office. You’re surrounded by coworkers who can offer you input and feedback. Some may be smarter or more experienced than you. Some may come from a different background. Some may approach problems from a different angle. As a leader, it will be crucial to take and consider input from an array of sources, instead of just relying on your own narrow point of view to generate new ideas.

So open yourself up to listening to others, soliciting feedback from them, and at least considering it – even if you end up not using it.

Practice being open to new opportunities, as well. Is there a project no one else wants to take on? A chance to be on the Safety Committee? An initiative that no one else has time for? An opportunity to teach someone a skill you have?

Open yourself up, and you’ll be surprised at what you might learn.

Develop your skills and vision

The best leaders weren’t born experts – they seek out resources and constantly work to better themselves and their skills.

Resources for learning are abundant. Seek out books, TED talks, and online courses. Attend conferences. Meet with your managers to  pick their brains. Ask a coworker to teach you a new piece of software. Meet with a life coach to work on your soft skills.

If you truly want to be a leader, you need to dedicated time to being a student – both to better yourself, and to understand your industry. Educate yourself on the current trends and debates affecting your industry, and pay attention to the thought leaders who are leading these discussions. Understand how your organization fits in, by talking with your peers and managers.

Most importantly, start developing a comprehensive view of your organization, beyond your department. A good leader needs to understand how all the moving parts fit together, so if you don’t know how the purchasing, marketing, or accounting departments work, ask for a tour or to take one of your coworkers there out to lunch.

As you keep yourself updated on your industry, and build a 360-degree view of your organization, you’ll begin to develop a leadership vision. And that will be one of your most valuable assets when it’s time to ask for a promotion.

Choose your peers and mentors

We humans are malleable, and our natural instinct is to become more like the people around us. Use this to your advantage by surrounding yourself with people who share your passion, and whose best traits you want to emulate.

Spend your time and energy on coworkers and friends who are positive and professional, and who support your aspirations – and try to avoid getting trapped with those who would rather pull you down to their pessimistic level. This will create a positive feedback loop that will help buoy your career.

Choose your mentors with the same care. Ask people who’s career paths and personalities you admire to be your mentor, or to meet with you for coffee.

If you surround yourself with the positive, your career will only go up.

Leave a Comment

One Comment

Leave a Reply