So, you’re primed for the big leagues. You know your organization’s systems and processes like the back of your hand, deeply understand your market and customers, have mastered time management, and consistently exceed your sales targets. Now you’re ready for a more impactful leadership role.
Expressing your desire to become a leader in your organization goes beyond merely stating your ambition; it’s about embodying leadership qualities, showcasing your ability to contribute at a higher level, and communicating your vision effectively.
Drawing on insights from a recent Harvard Business Review article and our expertise in leadership development, I’ve curated a robust set of 8 strategies to help you effectively demonstrate your untapped leadership potential.
Have a Succession Plan for your Current Role
You’re ready to move up, but who will take over your current responsibilities? Creating a succession plan is a critical step when you are focusing on the long term.
Cross-train a high-potential colleague in your area of expertise. Develop a structured outline of what skills need to be learned, the methodology for teaching those skills, and a timeline for each. As your colleague becomes more competent, gradually reduce your involvement in day-to-day tasks to allow them to become more independent. This will also free you up to focus on your new leadership responsibilities.
Leadership isn’t a solo endeavor – it’s about guiding a team, inspiring colleagues, and building trust.
- Rather than diving right into a meeting agenda, take a couple of minutes to connect with your colleagues.
- When others speak, truly listen.
- Offer genuine compliments on colleague’s achievements, skills, and contributions.
- Include others in the decision-making processes when appropriate.
- Build cross-departmental connections to help give you a broader understanding of the organization.
Can you relate to being a people pleaser, much like me? There are moments when I feel like I am channeling Jim Carrey’s character from the movie “Yes Man,” agreeing to everything but later finding myself overwhelmed, buried under a mountain of obligations.
Navigating the delicate act of saying “no” at work requires tact, diplomacy, and a bit of finesse.
- “I’d love to assist with this, but my current project demands my full attention.”
- “I think [colleague’s name] might be better suited for this task due to their expertise in [specific area].”
- “Unfortunately, my schedule is already packed for the week. Could we look at scheduling this in the future?”
- “I don’t think I am the best person for this task, but I’m happy to help find someone who is.”
- “In order to maintain the quality of my work, I have to be selective about taking on new tasks.”
Be an Advocate for Yourself
Learn techniques to respectfully promote your work and the value you’re contributing. Perhaps you led a successful project, mentored a colleague, or identified a solution to an organizational problem. Concrete examples are key to making your case credible.
Finding this tough to do? Be an advocate for the success of those around you as a collective effort, including yourself in the process.
Be a Champion for Your Organization’s Values
When you become a living example of your organization’s core values, you’re not merely reciting them – you’re embodying them. And remember, your actions will often resonate far louder than any well-crafted memo could. As you consistently lead by example, your behavior, communication style, and decision-making process will serve as a compelling blueprint, encouraging others to bring these values to life in their own roles.
Exhibit Financial Acumen
Taking on a leadership role often comes with budgetary responsibilities. To truly excel, you must understand the financial dimensions that drive your organization.
Consider arranging a mentorship or shadowing opportunity within your organization’s finance department to gain invaluable insights. Don’t just be a passive observer – actively engage by asking insightful questions that deepen your understanding of financial metrics, budget allocation, and fiscal strategy.
Invest in Yourself
Your openness to growth is a good indicator you can take on more. Leadership often requires a diverse skill set, some elements you may not yet have acquired. Express a willingness to undergo any training or professional development that would make you better suited for a leadership role.
Attend our upcoming Excellence in Sales Leadership™ Open Enrollment Workshop and arm yourself with proven best practices to optimize team performance, increase bottom-line impact, create an environment for success, and deliver results.
Have a Vision
Leaders have an innate ability to see the bigger picture. Create a vision for yourself.
- Define Your Core Values
- Identify Goals
- Create a Vision Statement
- Seek Feedback
- Revisit and Revise
- Take Action