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7 Tips To Get The Leadership Job

Oct 02, 2020

Here are our 7 tips on how to position yourself to get your first management job:

1. Be visible

  • Those who take responsibility and highlight the work they do and share their expertise and experience from projects are the ones who become most visible. 
    When top management and middle managers discuss promotions and who could be a potential candidate for a leadership position, they need to be able to remember you.
  • Make it easy for others to notice you, what you are doing and how you can contribute.
  • Offer to lead a project or take responsibility for a virtual team that allows you to both learn and make an effort beyond your daily tasks. Employees who are forward-leaning and want to contribute will be noticed.
  • Most leaders in your organization do not necessarily know what you are good at and what projects you are working in, if you do not tell anyone. Tell your manager when you have exceeded your goals or KPIs or delivered something exceptionally good. And ask your leader to pass this on to his/her leader and their peers.

2. Raise your hand and dare to say yes

  • It is important to be visible in the company's structure and ensure that you are assigned projects or an customer portfolio that is both exciting for you and the company. Remember that things are not necessarily assigned to you automatically - you have to ask for them.
  • Read the book: "Women Do Not Ask" by Linda Babcock, and notice what it says – this goes for both men and women.
  • When I joined the top management of one of the companies I worked for, many approached me to ask if I wanted to attend customer meetings or participate in their projects. Many asked if I needed more people on my team working with the latest technology. None of them were women. Why? If you as a woman recognize yourself in this - you need to be a little more proactive! You are allowed to ask!
  • If you have something smart to say in meetings, say so. If you are interrupted by loud or talkative colleagues, speak even louder.

3. Ask to shadow a senior leader in your organization

  • By shadowing a leader, you can attend meetings, observe and perhaps demystify some myths about leadership.
  • By this, you also gain insight into whether a leadership job is for you or not. Many people do not want to become leaders because they think there is a lot of extra stress and long days, but it does not necessarily always have to be that way. I once had a leader who made a big point of never having meetings late in the afternoon, because he had to pick up his children in kindergarten. This is how he set the standard in the company for a flexible working life. It is not always the case that managers do not have time to do other things than just work.

4. Challenge your leader

  • Talk to your immediate manager and tell her/him that you are ready to take on leadership responsibilities. If you do not tell your leader about your ambitions, no one will know what you want. And do not limit yourself by thinking about who has the leadership roles today - because you do not necessarily know what they will do in the future. 
  • I once had an employee on my team who wanted a certain type of leadership position. I said, "Exciting, I'll let you know if there's an opportunity ahead." He said, "Thank you, but I will never get that job, because he who has the job today will for sure never leave that position." 
    If you think like that, nothing happens. You do not know what other people will do nor when they will move to another job - look for opportunities, not limitations

5. Network!

  • Make sure you are part of a network or build a network yourself with people you can discuss with and learn from. There are so many networks around both industry specific and more general. Search for networks in your community or ask others for tips on good networks you can join.
  • There is a lot to gain both to increase your knowledge and to build relationships – networking can be both formal and informal. Think about every event that you go to – it should be a networking opportunity there. Never just hang out with the people you already know, but have aim to meet at least one new person – 
    This will force you to have a networking plan when attending an event whether it is professional or private.
  • Network meetings are a good arena for finding new jobs. I have seen several times that people have gotten new jobs after new connections have been established at network meetings.

6. Always do your best - no matter what!

  • Whether you succeed in becoming a leader or not, there is one thing company management values highly - and that is people who always do their very best. All roles in the company are important for a company to deliver desired results, and it is important that you always do your best - no matter what.
  • If you take responsibility for your role, deliver good results and show impact, you will sooner or later get the chance to get the job you want. It's about being diligent and patient – and making the best of every situation you're involved in.
  • I recommend reading the book "The Happiness Advantage" by Shawn Ackers

7. Get a mentor

  • I've been lucky to have good mentors in my working life. They have taught me things about their profession and shared their experiences I have subsequently been able to exploit in my work. Nowadays I mentor several young leaders, each one unique in their need for my input. I learn as much from my mentees as I do from my mentors. What I get in return from them is a new understanding of their thinking, their values and on what basis they make their choices. And I feel lucky to have the chance to follow their rapid development.
  • Each company should prioritize mentor relationships. I see only upsides by exchanging ideas, experiences, and expertise - and that we are challenged on this. This means that we can acquire knowledge in new ways, and I believe that drives leadership, innovation, and transformation forward at a faster pace. 

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