Few workers in any industry are content to stay in the job they were initially hired to perform. Most have a career plan – a plan that involves rising to a leadership position.
If your career path includes eventual leadership, it is important to remember that growing as a leader is a continuous process. Even after your first promotion to a leadership position, you can continue to develop as a leader by focusing further on broadening and deepening your skills. Seeking out practical experiences to lead also helps you develop leadership skills, whether you are new to leading or have been leading for some time.
Consider the following tips for growing into your leadership role:
- Consider how you might reshape your current job. Adding new responsibilities to your current job or restructuring your current work do two things. First, they demonstrate your willingness to take initiative and improve your own skills. Second, they open up opportunities for you to demonstrate leadership skills by adding leadership-related responsibilities or work. Focus on making changes that enhance your leadership skills.
- Take on temporary assignments. Reach outside your own department or job description for projects, task forces, or one-time events that need leadership. These tasks help expand your repertoire of leadership skills, making you better suited to lead in a variety of situations.
- Lead outside the workplace. Develop leadership skills by becoming a leader in volunteer work. Nonprofits, religious organizations, and social and professional groups all need good leaders, and the experience both broadens your leadership skills and gives you a chance to focus on something meaningful to you.
- Seek out a mentor – or become one. The best leaders often attribute their skills to the assistance of their mentors. If you are looking to develop leadership skills, work with an individual in your organization who already has them. If you’ve been working for some time and want to expand the leadership skills you already have, consider mentoring a junior colleague.