Leadership remains an enigma for most of the employees, prescriptions abound ranging from how to dress up, to using Freud’s psychoanalytic tools. Now all these look good on the paper, but falter while being implemented by the employee on the ground. So what can you do in day-to-day work and still be on the leadership track. From my experience these pointers will set you firmly on the leadership track.

Demonstrate Initiative

By demonstrating initiative, followers make their bosses and colleagues aware that they are eager to outgrow their jobs. For example, you may demonstrate initiative by identifying problem areas in your job and then act to correct the problems. Thus when you see a problem with a customer order, take initiative and handle the problem the way, you have seen your superiors handle the problem, even though it may not be a part of your daily job chore. With this attitude you send a signal to your manager and the management that you are capable of and willing to take on added responsibilities.

Add Value

Employees, who are on the path of leadership development, are constantly looking for opportunities to grow in their job. One of the best ways to do this is to make your job more challenging and meaningful. I will give you an example of a Primary Research worker, Zivendra. Zivendra found that unless he added value to his work, his job became boring and repetitious tasks did not allow him to develop new skills. Thus, rather than just monitoring the performance of telephone interviewer’s, as his job duty suggested. He added value to his job by offerings his manager input, as to how the interviews could be conducted more effectively.

Persistence Pays

If an assignment appears to be going nowhere, pause a moment in order to ask your network to help you to view the assignment in a new way. If even after taking advice from your network, failure is imminent, don’t panic and dump the assignment. Assess the situation and find out what went wrong and use the mistake as an opportunity to learn.  Perhaps the golden rule is never to make the same mistake twice.

Build Network

Getting ahead means making as many strong contacts as possible in your field, in particular make contacts with those who are socially known as highly competent. Keep your ears to the ground, find out who are solving complex problems, and then initiate relationship with those people. By building credits with the people in this network, you will be able to learn and obtain resource that would have been hitherto out of your reach.

Self Improvement Projects

Rather than waiting for others to offer you opportunities, you should seek opportunities on your own and make the most of the job and your intrinsic potential.  Employees on the leadership track, constantly look for opportunities that allow them to develop their skills and grow on the job. You can request special training or take on assignments that require you to use new skills, you may also ask others to indicate your strengths and weakness so that you may improve your score.

Managing Ambiguity

One of the most difficult problems for employees and managers in the organizations is learning how to deal with ambiguity, because ambiguity is the new order of the day. Frequently, you may encounter situations, wherein work is stuck or you don’t have a clue what will make things work. Many of your colleagues may also come up with ambiguous requests or offer ambiguous rationale.

Employees, who learn to handle ambiguity effectively and calmly fast track themselves on the leadership track.  In situations of ambiguity, take several steps and unravel the ambiguity with small incremental questions, this is better than getting frustrated and dumping the task. Make educated assumptions using your experience and keep moving towards implementation, don’t stop when you encounter ambiguity. In nutshell, use your network and best judgment to complete tasks without taxing your manager’s time and resources.

Jappreet Sethi

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