What does it mean to you to be a leader? Maybe it means you get to call the shots; maybe it means having “Manager” or “Executive” in your job title. At Criteria for Success, we believe every person in an organization has a leadership role to play. Here are our suggestions for how to be a great leader at any stage in your career.
Entry Level: Be Excellent.
For those just starting out in their career or in a new position, you can demonstrate your leadership abilities by exceeding expectations. Meeting the goals set out for you, then finding creative ways to contribute above and beyond, will communicate to your employer (and your colleagues) that you have what it takes to lead. At higher levels, managers and executives are expected to be able to come up with creative solutions to tough businesses challenges — put yourself in this category early to ensure you stay on the path to advancement.
Mid-Level: Grow Your Team.
Legendary CEO Jack Welch said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” As a mid-level manager, supporting your team to grow and succeed in their roles will build your credibility as a leader capable of inspiring excellence. This includes not taking all the credit–let your employees shine. If you’ve managed them well, their success will be an extension of your strength as a leader, and your supervisors will notice.
Executive: Set Goals and Enable Success.
At the Executive level, your job is to define the goals for your company and help your team get there. This stage is all about enabling the great team you have working for you to leverage their strengths and build a great company together. This might mean reorganizing your team to make sure you have strong employees you can trust and let them run with the ball — micromanaging isn’t fun for anyone.
Wherever you are in your professional journey, you can benefit from growing your leadership skills and instincts. Not only will your higher-ups appreciate (and even reward) your strength, you will feel more fulfilled and energized by your career. Everyone likes to succeed and feel valued, and taking charge of your development as a leader will help you get there.