Successfully leading others is a key way to build your career; it allows you to complete challenging tasks and provides you with the opportunity to stand out in your work-place. But you do not need to be a manager or team leader to start practicing good leadership. Read this article for ideas about how to develop your leadership skills in the early stages of your career.
Many psychologists have discussed the value of listening skills in the workplace, particularly for people in management and leadership positions.
If you express a clear interest in the thoughts and concerns of team members, it is likely that others will listen to you. It also creates a culture in which more people feel comfortable voicing their ideas.
If you are in a large team of people, take notes, so that you can better refer to each individual’s ideas.
Making others feel valued is a powerful thing to do. It will further your ability to contribute to the task and is also a good way to build a positive relationship with members of your team.
Learn From Others
Is there a manager or senior in your office who inspires you? Or maybe you know someone with an impressive career history.
Interact with people whose leadership style you think is effective. Observe how they present their ideas to others. Ask them questions about their career or leadership strategies.
Asking for advice is also a key way to building upon your skills. If you are in a meeting with your boss, ask your boss if there are any areas that you could improve upon. Being able to process and respond to feedback is an important part of career development.
Getting another perspective will also demonstrate to your boss that you are genuinely interested in contributing to the company and taking on new responsibilities.
Gain Skills and Competencies
It is important to familiarise yourself with a range of everyday tasks and highly used software, even if they have never been central to your particular role. By having a better understanding of what others do, you can be a more helpful team leader.
Identify strengths and weaknesses in your own knowledge and build upon this gradually. If you regularly liaise with another team member, ask if there is anything they can teach you that will enhance your ability to communicate to one another.
What you learn early in your career can become extremely valuable when moving into a new role or competing for a promotion. It will also position you as an ‘all-rounder’ who can understand the difficulties faced by others and take on a wide range of duties.
Many psychologists and inspirational leaders have written about planning as an essential leadership skill.
Planning is a major part of coordinating a team, but it is also a great tool for working toward your personal goals. Get into the habit of creating plans early, so you can gain an understanding of what strategies are most effective.
You will also be better at estimating the time it takes to complete different tasks. In this sense, the way you manage your own daily schedule will help you set realistic goals and expectations when taking charge of group activities.
A well-structured plan will unify and motivate the team by breaking larger objectives into a series of steps. The ability to measure progress against the plan, will provide you with critical insight to the performance of yourself and others.
At any given stage of your career, it is important to regularly reflect on your own performance. A key aspect of making progress is identifying what worked well and what should have been done differently.
As a manager or mentor, you can apply the same principle to a team-work setting. Conducting an open reflection allows team members to share their own experiences and challenges and brainstorm new approaches.
It is also an opportunity to tell others what they are doing right and create a positive, motivating environment.