It doesn’t matter which career field you go into, leadership skills are always considered a top attribute when it comes to succeeding. Natural leaders do exist, but anyone can develop their skills when it comes to learning to be a leader. Here are a few methods that one can put into practice immediately to set the trajectory towards leadership.
Be consistent and disciplined in continuing your education. Do this by reading personal development books, taking on additional work that isn’t necessarily assigned to you, and studying the habits and qualities of leaders you aspire to be like. Even John F. Kennedy said that “leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” By continuously learning, one is effectively priming themselves to be well-prepared for our continually changing environment. These are the people that take action, and that action is noticed.
Become a Follower
Acknowledge that team members and co-workers are treasured. Learn new things from them that you previously didn’t know in an area you don’t specialize in. If you’re in the market for an established mentorship relationship with a higher-up, ask. Even the action of asking alone shows a great deal of initiative. Having a dedicated mentor in the position you’re seeking is one of the best hands-on approaches to learning the skills necessary to perform in that capacity.
Do not just write something along the lines of “I want a promotion by next year.” Set a specific goal with a defined deadline. From there, reverse engineer the plan and timeframe to yield the actions you must take every single day to accomplish your goal. Create a weekly or daily schedule based on the steps you must perform and be disciplined in following through with everything you listed.
Make it a point to begin practicing instilling inspiration into your team members and the resolution of conflict. Inspiring a co-worker could be as simple as expressing sympathy and listening to them if they’re in a rough patch. The goal here is to test and eventually find what inspires motivation and energy within the team. In a leadership position, this is one of the primary roles of an effective leader.
Another role that leaders are very attuned to is the resolution of conflict. You may not be presented as many chances to practice this as you would inspiring others. However, when conflict does arise, and you feel it to be situationally appropriate, practice by intervening and simply gathering each party’s story while maintaining an open, unbiased mind.