But where do you apply for a Leadership position? Everywhere!
Leaders can take many forms, and while most people might think of their boss, or of a particularly inspirational CEO to be the archetype of a natural leader, we have news for you: You have what it takes to be a leader, too!
It takes more than holding an impressive title in your workplace to be a leader, but so often those who hold “power positions” within a company are presumed to be leaders. Today we want to open your eyes to the concept of group dynamics, and illustrate that anyone within a group can emerge as a leader among their peers and co-workers.
Let’s assume that you are a mid-level employee within a large company. You may or may not be interested in a promotion to a particular role, but you begin to take notice of the fact that your colleagues often come to you for work advice, or with various questions about procedures. They may even come to you for creative ideas.
And you love it! You feel empowered and want to help your coworkers take on more projects and responsibilities. What should you do?
All leaders are different, but there are some attributes that all good leader-types share.
1. Remain dedicated to your work, your team, and become a beacon of positivity.
What is your team capable of? Anything and everything!
Leaders are natural confidence-boosters, to themselves and to everyone they work with. People will turn to a natural leader, and not necessarily to those in positions of power within the company. In fact, most employees will bounce ideas off people they work closely with before speaking to their supervisor or upper management. These people are called “opinion leaders”, and they are generally highly respected by their direct teammates. To be a good “opinion leader”, it’s important to give your colleagues a boost, point out the positives in their work, and demonstrate your faith and trust in them.
2. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks between your colleagues.
You’re in a unique position as an opinion leader, and if you are also a people person, you will be able to see the strengths of your coworkers – sometimes before they do. Encouraging your coworkers to utilize their time efficiently can be extremely helpful, particularly if you notice someone struggling with their time management. This gives you the opportunity to identify their strengths and take the lead in creating a positive work environment. Take notice of the strengths and weaknesses of your coworkers, and take steps to direct them toward those strengths within the team.
3. Set team-oriented goals and accomplish them.
Chances are that your supervisor or direct manager has set expectations for you and your team. Those with a leadership mentality do not see expectations as obstacles, but as goals to reach for. Leaders are natural cheerleaders who want to encourage, excite, and empower their team to exceed expectations. Along with getting their work done, leaders will make time for their team and ask them questions. Simple but impactful questions like “How can we improve upon this?” or “What can I do to help?” can be massive motivators for improving your team’s output and productivity.
4. True leaders are fair and free of self-interest.
Will stepping into the role as a team leader make you look good to your bosses? Perhaps, if they are paying close enough attention. However, if that is your primary focus, stop right there! True leaders will not assume their roles just because they are looking to move up. A leader’s primary passion is helping people develop skills and keep organized.
Treating your colleagues with respect and guidance makes for a trusted leader. These types of leaders are called “Personal-Relational” leaders, because they relate closely to their teammates and can assist them on a level that their managers or supervisors might be too busy to meet.
5. Remember that leaders do not claim their title, they earn it!
Leaders who have to step up to a new challenge may have a very different set of priorities than leaders who have earned their position through the trust and respect of their peers. Simply assuming the role can be a jarring change for the rest of your team. When starting a project with a new team, it is imperative to sit down with your colleagues and get to know each other. Now would be a good time to start encouraging your team’s cohesiveness: suggest a group lunch, start out on a positive note by having a conversation about your individual strengths and backgrounds, and push your teammates to go above and beyond what is expected of them.
Whether or not you are singled out as a team leader, positivity and motivation in the workplace really are their own rewards. Rather than an official title, it is the respect and support of your team that will define you as a true leader.