For many young careerists, a leadership role is a natural step in their career path. That first leadership role is more than just a step up the corporate ladder. It is a stepping stone to a more fulfilling career.
But how do you signal to your current boss and employer that you’re ready to take on more responsibility? That you’re ready to contribute to the mission of the organization by leading others?
Want to determine what leaders expect to see from a potential leader? Want to demonstrate you are ready for a leadership role? To help you do just that, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:
How can an employee or mentee show they’re ready for a leadership role?
Enjoy their insightful answers. And put their great advice to work!
1. Help Others
The biggest way for me to spot a true leader? By seeing how helpful they are to their colleagues, especially if they already have a pretty robust workload. This shows me they are selfless and care about the company as a whole. And not just about what is on their plate and in their day-to-day. This is the mindset of a true leader.
2. Do Work at the Next Level
Being ready for a leadership role is best demonstrated by actually doing the work at the next level. If you’re interested in leading a group, show your leadership abilities by taking on the lead role on projects. Look at opportunities from the perspective of management. Then conduct yourself the way you would if you were in a managerial position.
3. Ask “Why?” Questions
Ask “why?” questions and come up with thoughtful answers. Leadership is more about figuring out the “why.”After all, few people really understand why key decisions are made. Then knowing “what” the company must do to achieve their mission becomes the priority. How that goal is achieved falls upon everyone.
4. Take Ownership
Great leaders own their work. They do not require management. They thrive on self-motivation. To a manager, it is immediately evident if someone is ready for leadership if they make the role their own. It is easy to follow instructions. But when someone makes decisions with the business’s best interests in mind, that’s someone ready for a leadership role.
5. Identify Opportunities for the Company
A major component of leadership is the ability to identify opportunities for growth and improvement within a company. Demonstrating an understanding of the “big picture” is a sign the employee has a vision for growth. Being able to communicate through specific, actionable recommendations for the company is even better.
6. Offer New Ideas
The difference between a leader and a team member is a focus on improving the way the business operates. Leaders understand the business’s processes and make beneficial changes. So speak up about your ideas. Communicate how you would do things differently. Developing improved processes is a great way to signal you’re ready to step up.
7. Give Them a Sitting Role
Allow that employee to function on a limited basis within the role they’re looking to fill. Their motivation to prove themselves will often lead to great results. And it’s the perfect opportunity for you to gauge if they’re the right fit. All without the financial commitment of a promotion. Give the process 60-90 days, and use an end-of-term review to discuss wins and losses.
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched Business Collective. This free virtual mentorship program helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.