Strategy #1 – Communicate your interest in a leadership role
As simple as it sounds, too many of us still expect our management to “read our minds.”
Once, I worked as a global technical specialist on a project where I had to gain alignment between the US, Canadian, and European sites on a new inspection tool. As part of our performance system, every year you are encouraged to provide input into your development plan for future assignments and responsibilities.
My mentor that year urged me to request a second line management position as my next assignment. I had led several teams before but never really wore the official title as a management employee. He explained this would allow me to see the business side of the corporation and understand the systems used to manage people and budgets.
When I finally spoke one-on-one with my manager to share my interest, he said I should have communicated this earlier as he would have helped sooner.
I realized…you cannot just sit back, invest your time, and manage heavy workloads and expect your leadership to simply “read your mind.” You must communicate your interest in a leadership role and your desire to function at a higher level. Although you may have been doing the job as a manager or doing your manager’s work, you will never will be recognized as one until you speak up.
Stop waiting for others to give you what you already deserve. If you want the opportunity, you must pursue it. Go after your leadership role.
Schedule a one-on-one discussion with your manager and communicate what you would like your career to look like and what you want to be when you grow up in the company. Be open to hearing his or her feedback. Ask for steps to take now that will get you on that path if you are not already there. Also, ask to be considered for special projects that may be coming down the pipeline that no one in your organization may be aware of except management.
When you are given areas to improve on or skills to develop, take the time to consider it and plan out actions to take to move in the right direction.
But, understand this…to change any habit, it first starts with mindset. I wrote an entire 30-page chapter on mindset and how that affects your end result in my book Own Your Life. So, I will not go into detail here.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Why do I do that?
- How is this action allowing me to be perceived by others?
- Am I willing to change the behavior?
Once you understand where you are, implement the plan. Ensure you communicate your progress and follow-up with your manager often. Discuss the things you’ve been working on and how you are delivering value to the company. You must understand how to convert your skill into value in terms of efficiencies, cost reductions, etc. You want to self-promote at this point.
Your homework today is to schedule a one-on-one with your manager. Prepare yourself at home. Think about what you will say and some potential questions he may ask you. Be prepared to get to work immediately once he provides feedback. Show him you are capable of initiating change. This is what leaders are MOST known for – bringing change wherever they go.
So, this is it for strategy #1. Time to take the next step. I’ll give you a chance to implement and remember to send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stand Out! I’ll talk to you in a couple days with strategy #2.
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