There are natural-born leaders: people who have the charisma and confidence that has come naturally to them. These are not, however, the only leaders. You don’t need to have a larger-than-life personality to be a great leader. People don’t naturally need to be drawn to you. There are many ways you can become a great leader in your own way. There are so many great leadership styles, and more than that, people need more than just someone they want to follow. They need someone with the right ideas that will change things for the better.
You can learn many of the leadership traits that will help you succeed. You can learn the skills that will make you effective. You can make a difference, even if you feel like the furthest thing from the leaders you see on television. Unless you are looking at winning an elected role, you can see your dreams come true, and all you need to get started is to follow these steps:
Start By Asking for More Responsibility
It is great to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. It is better to make your own. By making your own opportunities, you are not sitting and waiting for something to pass you by. Instead, by making your intentions clear to those around you, if those you work with know that you want to take on more responsibility, they will know to direct options your way.
That is just one benefit of asking for more responsibility. The other benefit is that you can see your own ideas and projects come to life because you campaigned for them yourself. Do this, and you’ll already be a leader. You may not have people who work under you, and if you are in nursing, you may not even have the qualifications to apply for that role, but you will have the respect of your fellow co-workers. People recognize a leader that works for what they want, and having others recognize you as a leader in this way is the first step to actually becoming one.
Make Your Intentions Known
This isn’t just about self-actualization. Rather, it is about letting your co-workers and your managers know of your goals. Just like asking for more responsibility, it makes your managers and other higher-ups think of you when they need to either hire someone or are looking to provide an opportunity.
Not only that, but if you make your goals known, then others who are happy to help you see those goals through can give you advice, strategies and can even recommend you should the time come.
When you are looking at an internal promotion, there should not be a single person who is surprised that you are going for that managerial role. Everyone should think of you first because it is what you have been working towards and what people know about you.
Look into Leadership Degrees
If you are a specialist, not a manager, leadership degrees can be the exact thing you need to further your career into leadership. Take nursing, for example. You can be a great nurse that works wonderfully with patients, but your skillset is in care, not in managing the nursing department. That is where leadership degrees come into play. In nursing, you will be looking at DNP nursing leadership courses. In other industries, you may be looking at an executive MBA.
Put What You Are Learning to Good Use
If you are going through the leadership degree route, remember that you don’t need to graduate to start putting what you are learning to good use. This is particularly true if you are currently in a managerial level role and are looking to become an executive. For example, if you are a nurse that has other nurses underneath you, then you are in a good position to put what you are learning from that executive leadership degree and see results first-hand.
The other benefit, other than showcasing the benefits of your degree, is that you can go to your instructors with real-world questions and problems and get actionable advice in return.
Shadow and Learn from Leaders at Your Work
Shadowing and finding a mentor are two of the best things that you can do for your career. It shows you are ambitious, it shows you want to learn, and it fosters great working relationships with the higher-ups. You don’t need to do this with someone at your workplace, either. There are many mentors that you can find and connect with online. Rather than shadowing them, however, they work with you to achieve your goals and may even connect you with others or with resources that can help you achieve your goals.
Be Prepared to Start Your Next Career Change Somewhere Else
The fact is that unless there is an opening at your work, there is very little chance that you will be promoted at your current place of work. To be a leader, you need to lead your own nest, which means for most that you will need to leave the one you currently call your own. There are many benefits to this, however. For one, you can start to look for leadership positions that will suit your personality and your personal goals. In nursing, for example, if you wanted to slow down, you could move from a big city hospital to a small town hospital and take up a leadership position there. If your goal is to head a large hospital, don’t wait for an opening. Taking a leadership position in a smaller hospital now can give you the work and practical experience you need to work your way up to larger and busier establishments.
This same principle applies to many careers. To get the hot-ticket job, you will need practical and theoretical experience, so don’t be afraid to take up a position with a smaller company that will give you greater control and opportunity, and use that experience to further your goals in the future.
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