Everyone develops leadership qualities personally and professionally in different ways. Many people may not even aspire to be leaders, but “accidentally” end up being role models for others.
You can become a leader very early in your career. It does not necessarily mean that you are a loud “rah rah” person. You don’t have to run around the office “high fiving” everyone, or be super enthusiastic every minute of the day!
I have been very interested in sports leadership for years, and the one who set the bar the highest in hockey since the early 1980’s was Mark Messier. Not only was he known for winning 5 championships, his fierce competitiveness, and leadership qualities, but he was confident. Those who follow hockey closely will remember when he guaranteed victory in the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs while playing for the New York Rangers. Not only did they win that game, but they won it all for the first time in 54 years!
For every Mark Messier, there are many others who quietly lead by example in sports, business, and every day life. I always love the comment,
“They don’t speak up very often, but when they do everyone stops in their tracks to listen.”
Those quiet people are also leading and providing great value.
When I first got in to business, my perception of leadership was very one-sided. I thought that managers and executive management were the only ones who were leaders. Many of them did motivate and inspire their teams, but others unfortunately did not understand the importance of being a positive influence on others.
You can start showing leadership qualities from the moment you start a new role. Focus on things like:
- Care about the job that you are doing, your customers, and everyone around you
- Having a strong work ethic, and becoming a “go to employee”
- Being the type of person that others want to be around
- Doing the “little things”, and being attentive to details
- Doing more than is expected of you
- “That is not my job” is not in your vocabulary
- Taking advice and criticism as a professional
- Being open to learning
- Supporting team mates and encouraging them
- Celebrating their wins, and supporting their losses
- Being enthusiastic & positive
- Having lots of energy
Before you know it, people will start to look up to you and aspire to be like you. They notice that you have taken steps forward and have become promotable sooner than most.
Everyone has leadership qualities in some way, shape or form. The million dollar questions are:
- Are you using them? And better yet…
- Do you want to use them?
Take stock of how you are leading now, and how you may want to lead in the future.
Shhhh… I will tell you a little secret.
You might actually like it if you don’t already!