We are finally at question 4 in our 4 part series all around landing that next role or promotion and making 2024 your year. Here’s a recap of the last 4 weeks:
- Are you investing in your growth?
- Are you advocating for your promotion?
- Are you creating boundaries?
- Are you showing up as that leader today?
I think this is a really important question to ask yourself if you’re looking to move into a more senior leadership position.
Are you showing up as that leader today?
Because here’s the cold, hard truth: You WON’T get promoted simply by doing a good job in the position you have. That may get you a merit increase and a ‘great job’ but it won’t inspire your manager to promote you.
People are promoted based on their manager’s belief that they can operate at the next level. And the best way to show that to your manager, is to start operating at that level now! That’s what makes you the no-brainer choice for that promotion.
So how can you start to do this if you’ve been laser focused on executing your current job perfectly, and this idea is new to you?
There are 4 areas you can focus on to start demonstrating leadership. Let’s explore each of them:
Get clear on the leader you want to be
This first one is all about being intentional about who the leader is you want to be, and whether you’re showing up as that person today.
Don’t wait for that leadership position to start showing up as a leader. Start showing as that person now.
Do you want to be known as a direct, but empathetic leader who says the hard thing but always has your back? If so, do your actions today match that or do you struggle to share feedback or challenge people in a kind way?
Do you want to be seen as a leader who empowers others and lifts them up? If so, how are you doing that now? Are you great at delegating and giving people more responsibility, or are you too worried they won’t do as great as a job as you do?
Now think of a VP you really admire. Here are some common workplace behaviours – could you see that VP doing these?
- Gossiping with their co-workers about the latest drama
- Doing the bare minimum to get an annoying task across the finish line
- Being afraid to advocate for themselves and their idea in a leadership meeting
- Holding a grudge against a colleague instead of addressing something that bothered them directly
There’s no one right way to be a leader, but there are some things we can agree we all want to see in a leader. Do you engage in workplace drama or avoid hard conversations? If so, people may struggle to see you as a leader.
Give it some thought and bring some awareness to how you’re presenting yourself.
If you’re thinking:
I want to act like a leader, but I’m not in a leadership position.
That’s okay – take charge of implementing a new strategy or running a project. There are plenty of ways to show leadership without having direct reports. But you’ll need to be intentional about it.
Share strategic insights
To me, this is a clear way to demonstrate you’re ready for a more senior leadership position. And if you’re willing to carve out the time to do this, you can add a ton of value.
Insights can come from a whole host of areas, but consider your function to start. What have you noticed or observed? Any new trends? Can you dig into these and gain a better understanding of why they’re happening?
This may just be a new strategy for growth that you can share with your boss.
There was a woman who used to work for me who was constantly bringing me new ideas about how we could increase business or get more leads for the team. She had no intention of pursuing leadership, until I convinced her to step into a leadership role. In my mind, she was a no-brainer choice because she was already thinking about how to help the team win and I felt she could amplify her results by leading people.
That’s the power of sharing strategic insights with your Manager.
One key point I want to drive home here is that this takes strategic thinking time. You’re unlikely to come up with a really valuable insight in the 5 minutes you have between back to back meetings. Instead, carve out 1-2hrs for this, and see what you come up with. Sift through the metrics and data. Go down some rabbit holes.
You’ll be amazed at what you can uncover.
If you’re not used to carving out time for strategic thinking, I encourage you to check out my previous newsletter all about it.
Communicate with impact
If you know me, you’ve probably heard me talk about this a few times. The way you say something can be even more important that the idea itself!
And when I share how to make your communication more impactful, I always talk about the 3C’s. You want to be:
Chances are, you struggle with at least one of these. Most people I know struggle to be concise, and this can hurt you! In fact, it can create the perception that your ideas haven’t been well thought through and that you’re not a big picture thinker.
One of the best tips I can give you to improve on all 3 of these, is to spend time preparing what you plan to share or present in a meeting. When you wing it, you tend to babble. It’s true. When it’s well prepped, it will come off more polished and organized. And because so much of the way people perceive us relates to our communication style this is time well spent.
If you want to go a little deeper on this one, check out my previous newsletter all about framing. It’s one of the best possible skills you can develop to position yourself as a leader and one that I’m consistently told is game-changing for my clients.
Put yourself in your boss’ shoes
This last one may seem intuitive, but SO MANY people don’t do this! And that’s simply to put yourself in your boss’ shoes.. or your boss’ boss’ shoes when you’re considering what to do or making an ask.
One sure-fire way to tell your Manager you’re not ready for that next level in leadership, is to present an idea you want to move forward with that’s great for you and terrible for your team. OR that’s great for you and your team, but has ripple effects that impact the rest of the organization which you haven’t considered.
One of the elements of a great leader is judgement. If you can show you exercise good judgement and make the right calls 80% of the time or more, you’re more likely to be promoted. And considering what your Manager would do in a given situation is a great way to do this.
So when you’re thinking about how you can have a bigger impact or really add value to your role, consider what will make your boss’ life easier and help them hit their goals. You may just find your answer.
Okay, that’s all for today. I hope I’ve given you some actions to implement in 2024 and beyond to be the leader you want to be.