Many people don’t know how to get a leadership position. What they need is a plan of attack and a path to the leadership role they’ve been hoping to achieve. Here’s your guide to getting that promotion you’ve been dreaming about.
Research the organization and the position you are seeking
You first have to know what type of company culture you want to work for. It falls on the spectrum from bureaucratic, top-down-style companies with strict hierarchies to more egalitarian organizations with looser structures and less rigid chains of command.
This will dictate your strategy for getting ahead because different styles require different approaches. For example, suppose you’re working at a bureaucratic company like Walmart or General Electric, where promotions are handed out based on seniority rather than merit. In that case, your best bet may be patiently waiting until someone higher up retires.
Getting a leadership position in this type of environment is about playing the long game, sticking around long enough to be noticed for your hard work and loyalty, and learning when to get out of the way so that more senior people get promoted before you do.
In contrast, if you’re working at a more merit-based company like Google, employees are valued based on their perceived talent and potential to grow. Then, your best bet may be to make yourself noticed early by aggressively stepping up to take on even the most challenging tasks. It shows that you’re someone worth investing in.
Getting a leadership position in this environment is about being the best person for the job and proving it, ideally through quantitative metrics. It helps if you have taken extra electives for leadership skills, such as online group facilitation programs. Online resources offer this kind of training for you.
Once you’ve proven yourself, you’ll have a much better chance of being noticed by someone in a position to promote you.
Make a great first impression
Making a great first impression is essential to getting ahead in your career. Here are some tips for putting your best foot forward:
- Be on time. This may seem like common sense, but being late for a meeting or an appointment sends the message that you don’t respect the other person’s time and that you’re not reliable.
- Dress appropriately. When you meet someone for the first time, it’s important to dress the part. That means wearing clothes that are professionaland reflect your company’s culture.
- Be friendly and polite. Be sure to smile and make eye contact when you meet someone new. You want to come across as likable and trustworthy.
- Be prepared. Ensure you know who you’re meeting with, the agenda, and what you want to get out of the meeting. This will show that you’re organized and respectful.
Have a resume ready
You want to make sure you have a leadership resume ready for when the time comes to put your plan into action. You want to be prepared and have all of your skills and experience laid out to give the hiring manager or supervisor a great first impression and make it clear why you’d be an asset as a leader.
When putting together your resume, it’s essential to highlight the skills and experiences that make you a great leader. Some things to focus on include:
- Leadership experience: Have you ever led a team in the past? Did you manage any projects or initiatives? Managers are often looking for leaders who have a track record of success.
- Teamwork: Can you work well with others? Are you able to build relationships and collaborate effectively? Teamwork is essential for leaders, as they need to work harmoniously with their team members.
- Communication skills: Leaders need to communicate effectively with their team members, superiors, and other stakeholders. They need to articulate their vision and get their team on board.
- Problem-solving skills: Leaders need to identify and solve problems quickly and efficiently. They need to have a strategic mindset and think outside the box.
- Organizational skills: Leaders need to keep track of their assignments, priorities, and timelines. They need to have strong time management skills that help them accomplish their goals without being overwhelmed.
Utilize your network in the company
Utilize your network in the company by seeking out mentors who can help you navigate the organization. You can look for ways to add value to the company that might not be on your job description through them.
It’s also a good idea to make connections with people in different departments or teams, even if they’re outside of your department, so you’ll have more opportunities when it’s time for a promotion.
To get a leadership position in your company, you need to prove that you’re the best person for the job. This is often done through quantitative metrics and more education on leading teams of people. Once you’ve proven yourself, you’ll have a much better chance of being noticed by someone in a position to promote you.
Seek out opportunities and get started on your path to your new promotion.