You’ve done your research, listened to podcasts, and signed up for that online webinar (or two) with hopes of advancing your career as a business leader.
More times than not, we plan our biggest influential debuts around the perfect opportunity. We envision how we would converse with industry leaders, show up and stand out during meetings, and let’s not forget some good self-promotion for a job well done.
While these are all valid approaches to get and stay ahead, what happens when the opportunity to lead a big project, team, or organization finally lands at your feet, but isn’t quite packaged the way you expected?
On the climb to the top, you will inevitably find yourself dealing with naysayers, having imposter syndrome, and/or without the help or adequate support of a team. Nevertheless, as a business leader, you will be charged with exceeding expectations and driving bottom line profits.
Keep these three tips in mind when leveling up your career as a leader or person of influence.
Be Your Own Greatest Leader
The most respected leaders realize that it is not enough to dictate and demand. In order to create a high-performance environment, great leaders should know they first must be good communicators, decisive, and have integrity. According to the Path-Goal model, a theory that considers the impact of behavior on overall job satisfaction and effectiveness, a leader’s job is to assist followers in attaining their goals and to provide the necessary direction and support to ensure the goals are compatible with overall business objectives. So, whether you are at the top, middle, or bottom of your organization, expect to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and lead by example.
Have the Right Focus
The time wasted questioning your decision or position on a specific task or project, is time that could be spent working directly with team members, building relationships, and identifying opportunity gaps. According to Harvard Business Review, great leaders should balance task-focus (getting things done) with people-focus (inspiring, developing, and empowering others). Listening, and developing both yourself and others throughout all project demands has proven to enhance productivity and drive bottom line profits.
Always Be Learning
Some of the best leaders are constant learners. They admit that it’s OK to not have all the answers and seek opportunities to learn more through people, books, or life situations. A sustainable competitive advantage depends on one’s ability to consistently seek and analyze information. Whether a project is going well or (what you feel is) horribly wrong, challenge your assumptions. By being impartial in your reflection, you’ll gain clearer insight into the lessons that should be learned; allowing you to be more efficient and effective for future opportunities.