When it comes to getting a leadership position, there is a lot of groundwork you need to put in to ensure success. You cannot just walk into a leadership position, you have to work for it, and you have to ensure that you are ready for it. Whether you are wanting to lead a team of 10 or a team of 1000, there are essential skills that you will call upon. So, just how can you get yourself ready to step into a leadership position and most importantly what can you do to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
Where Do You See Yourself and Are You Achieving Your Full Potential?
Before you progress into a leadership role, you need to establish what you are doing now and how well it is working. Of course, when you undertake a leadership position, most likely your thoughts and views will evolve but realistically they will not differ too much from what you think, believe and follow at the moment in your existing role. So, take a good hard look at yourself and your role at the moment.
Ask yourself – are you achieving your full potential within your current role and where do you see yourself going? Maneuvering into leadership will feel more natural and easier if you can confidently say you have achieved everything you set out to in your current role.
On the Road to a Leadership Role
Not everyone is suited for leadership and this is important to remember. You want a leadership role, but that does not mean your colleagues or acquaintances’ will. When you strive to reach the top, you can accidently excluded people and even alienate them because you believe they are heading in the same direction as you and realistically this is detrimental to your journey to the top. Embracing differences and even focusing on the benefits that each person can add or bring to a role, will help you see the best in everyone and not the potential threat.
Do You Have what it Takes To Succeed in Leadership?
To succeed in leadership you have to have the right approach and you have to have the right mindset. Not being in tune with yourself and with those around you can hinder your success in leadership, so remember that you are not alone in this journey. To succeed in leadership you must be strong and determined. There will be times when you have mountains to climb, and there will also be times when you feel that everyone is against you and your ideas.
On these occasions, you must strengthen your resolve and your character. Being a leader to any number of people will not be easy and it will not be simple. However, the challenges that you face and then overcome will help you to improve your leadership skills, style and approach.
Your Skills, Traits and Attributes – What Do You Have to Offer?
There is no right or wrong approach to leadership, and there is no such thing as a perfect leader. However, there are skills, attributes and traits that all leaders share, that make them a force to be reckoned with. For example, most if not all leaders are effective communicators at all levels. Leaders must communicate their vision with many and to do this successfully they have to be able to communicate clearly and efficiently.
Alongside the ability to be an effective communicator, a leader must also be a fantastic listener. Of course, a leader does not have to listen to everything that is said, as this would not be efficient but they do have to listen to feedback given, especially when it affects their vision. Leadership skills can be built up over time, however, knowing what you bring to the table will help build your confidence, which will in turn strengthen your persona and image.
Identifying Your Strengths and Weaknesses
You cannot be the master of everything. Identifying where your strengths lie, and also establishing where you are weak is important for any leadership role. If you do not establish where you need to make improvements, then you can never develop and become a great leader. So, if you were to look at what you can offer to a role today, what would it be? On the flipside, also look at areas of improvement because a great leader needs to be aware of where they can improve what they are doing.
For instance, are you fantastic at communication but not so good at listening? Or, for example, do you have a great vision in mind that you struggle to show or share with others.
Strengthening and Developing Your Areas of Weakness
Once you have identified where your strengths and weaknesses do lie, it is important that you focus on strengthening and developing those weak areas, to ensure that you are a better leader all around. When tackling weaknesses, try and tackle one area at a time. By focusing on one area or issue at a time, you can ensure that you overcome existing hurdles before tackling anything else.
What Are Your Visions and Ambitions For the Future?
Where do you see yourself in the future and what ambitions do you hold for yourself in a leadership role? If you do not have clear visions or ambitions, then how can you expect to lead others? So, if you haven’t got any concrete visions or ambitions already in place, you need to focus on creating and sculpting these as soon as you can.
Advancing and Enhancing Your Education
Whether you are leading from the middle or you are leading from the front. How you lead matters and so too does your education. The more educated that you are and the broader the education you hold, the more you can offer to a leadership role. When you focus on enhancing your education alongside a leadership role or position, you put yourself in the best position possible.
You put yourself in a position to be better and to offer more. When it comes to enhancing and advancing your education, you must look at undertaking a leadership master’s because you need to ensure that you get the knowledge and awareness you require to succeed in leadership and not just tread water.
Mentally and Physically Preparing for the Journey Ahead
Learning, improving yourself and getting ready for a leadership position is both physically and mentally exhausting. To ensure that you are ready for what lies ahead, you must work on strengthening your resolve.
Undertaking exercise and getting fitter will help you find clarity and focus, and mentally preparing yourself for longer working hours, more confrontation and increased learning will ensure that you can handle an increased workload when it comes around. If you are not as prepared as you could be, then you may expose weaknesses that others may use against you.
Building Support Networks
Even though it may feel like you are alone in leadership, you really aren’t. Building your support networks to include business leaders and other like-minded people, will ensure that you have someone to talk to and possibly even lean on in times of need. There is nothing wrong with having people to talk to and with using the support and assistance of others. So, do not put off building a strong support network.
Your Attitude and Your Approach
How will you approach a new role, and what is your attitude like? How you are in your personal life is probably very different to how you are at work and this is fine. However, if you do not focus on how you will approach your new role, you could end up blurring your work and home life, and this is when you can end up causing yourself more stress and mental anguish than you need to.
So, what approach are you going to take within your leadership role? Are you going to be a bit elusive or are you going to be in there with the rest of the team and as hands-on as possible? What will your attitude say about you as a leader? Will it say that you are not picky, or will it say that you are meticulous?
What Type of Leader Are You?
Even though no two leaders are the same, you may share the same leadership type as someone else. For example, you may lead from the front because you like to be in charge and take the brunt of everything that gets put in your direction; or you might like to lead from the middle, listening to your team members, taking their thoughts and views on board and even possibly running with their ideas.
When you can establish what type of leader you are, you can then establish what is acceptable for you and what is not. When you step into a new role, you need to create expectations and you need to make boundaries, or else you will struggle to gain and command respect. So, think about what leadership style you want to follow and most importantly, which style suits you because it is intrinsically important to your success as a leader.
How Will You Influence and Lead Others?
It sounds easy to influence and lead other people, but in reality, your colleagues (and others with influence) will have their own views, thoughts and opinions, and sometimes these can be very hard to change. So, what approach are you going to adopt? Are you going to go for a softly does it approach when it comes to influencing those that matter or are you going to go for a full force, nothing held back approach?
Sometimes a half-way approach works best and sometimes, a mixture of approaches works well. As a leader you will have to weigh up each situation and then adapt your approach to tackle the situation at hand.
When you are leading others, they need to know where they stand with you. So, think carefully about how you will lead because consistency is important to successful leadership. For example, if you want to lead others with minimal stress and fuss, and you want to take a more back seat role, then make this clear from the start.
However, if you want to be more hands-on and potentially micromanage, then make this clear too. The clearer you are with your thoughts, ideas and approaches, the easier it will be to influence and lead others, and the more success you will have.
What Type of Leader Do You Aim to Be – What Do You Want to Achieve?
So, aside from leadership styles and skills, what do you aim to be and what do you aim to achieve? For instance, do you want to be known and perhaps remembered for your fierce approach to negotiations? Are you aiming to be a leader who listens to everyone within a business or company, and not just those at the top? When you have aims and objectives to achieve, you can then ensure that your time within a leadership role is as successful as possible.
At the start of a new role, you need to set out clearly what must be achieved and what you would like to achieve. When this is clearly visible to others and seen by those that count, you can ensure that everyone is working off the same page and ultimately working towards the same goal.
What Impact Do You Want to Make?
Making an impact is important because it signals to others that you made changes and that you made a difference. Making a tangible and visible impact is also important to use when you are going for your next leadership position. So, ensure that you can and will make an impact, and make sure that you are credited for the impact you made. A lot of information can get lost in translation, but when you are building up a reputation and an image as a business leader, you want to ensure that your achievements and areas of impact are recognized and respected.