If you’re interested in stepping into a management role within your existing workplace or are keen on reinventing yourself as a leader in an entirely new industry, there are strategies you can implement in your personal and professional development to help you step into a leadership role effectively.
Below, we discuss 5 key action steps that will make assuming a new leadership role seamless.
Pursue ongoing education
The first and most obvious step in preparing yourself for a leadership role is to undertake further study. More and more research indicates that good leadership is a learned skill rather than an innate ability, and tertiary qualifications will help you develop the skills you need to motivate staff and manage a team.
Great leaders also understand the operations of their department and have hands-on knowledge of the jobs being carried out by their subordinates. So if you have practical skills in only one department and have your heart set on a General Manager’s role, you might also need some basic vocational training across a different skillset.
Additionally, it’s incredibly helpful and beneficial for those in leadership roles to take courses in subject areas such as emotional intelligence, enhancing team performance, and the languages of appreciation at work.
The Shaping Change Learning Hub offers a wide variety of online courses and trainings that are perfectly suited to those wanting to further develop their leadership skills.
Look for opportunities to join committees and forums in your workplace. Representing your department on the safety committee or being a part of the business development team is your chance to learn from the key drivers in your workplace in addition to seeing how your department really fits into the overall structure of the organisation.
Ask intelligent questions, contribute to the discussion, and play an active role in the decision-making function of the committee.
Volunteer as a leader
Being a part of community service organisations is an excellent opportunity to gain further leadership experience. There are always openings to join a local chamber of commerce, service organisation, or charity. You’ll quickly learn the dynamics of an effective meeting and may also find yourself undertaking other leadership roles such as drawing up schedules, preparing a budget, or managing fundraisers.
All of this is leadership experience worthy to be included on a resume or Linkedin profile. And remember that the size of the organisation is not important: it’s about making a meaningful contribution and getting the chance to work alongside experienced leaders who might be more willing to mentor you than the super-busy CEO of the company you work for.
Attend industry events
Effective leaders are knowledgeable about the industry they work in, and understand the overall industry placement of their own organisation. Start conducting your own research and attend some industry events and conferences on your own dollar. Back at your own workplace, ask if you can represent the organisation at an industry event or conference at your own expense. You might be surprised when they offer to pay your ticket and let you tag along with the General Manager.
You can also join industry associations (many accept associate and preliminary members), attend workshops, and apply for scholarships and other industry-only professional development opportunities. When you’re a member of your industry association, you’ll be the first to know about key events and opportunities for emerging leaders.
Become more productive
Finally, if you want a leadership role, you need to ramp up your output and personal productivity. Effective leaders have excellent time management skills so they can get their own work done, as well as oversee departmental staff, solve problems, and report back to their own senior manager or board of directors.
Getting all your own work done plus taking on additional responsibilities without complaint is still one of the best ways to be tagged for leadership potential.
Stepping into a new leadership role is an exciting time for any manager, and using the strategies above, you can potentially shorten your learning curve and assume your new position with experience and finesse. Which of the above action steps will you pursue this week?