Some may argue that we are born with an innate aptitude for certain skills, that based on our genetic makeups some people are cut out to be leaders while others are not. However, this is not the case. Anyone can be a leader if they set their mind to it and take the time to develop the proper skills. Some of the most successful business leaders, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Marissa Meyer, have admitted to being introverts and struggling with social skills.
If you feel more like a follower than a leader in your workplace and ultimately want to rise in the ranks follow these tips to bring out your inner leader.
Attend a leadership seminar or take a course online
Plenty of leadership courses are offered online for free or at a minimal cost. Inquire whether your company offers any professional development courses; not only will you pick up more skills, but taking this initiative will demonstrate that you value your professional development and want to better yourself within the company. Also search around to see if there are any seminars being held in your area; you can’t beat face-to-face interaction with a leadership professional and other like-minded individuals looking to develop leadership skills.
Practice public speaking
Being an authoritative speaker and exercising outstanding communications skills are key aspects of leadership. According to Forbes, “Even someone who excels in many aspects of leadership will probably hit a ceiling if he or she is not a good communicator.” It’s always better to over-communicate with everyone on your team than to under-communicate and leave out key information that leads to a misunderstanding. Keep in mind that it’s always better to be natural, so instead of memorizing and rehearsing speeches, memorize concepts and just be yourself.
Become involved in your community
Getting involved with volunteer work can do wonders for your professional development and help to position you as a leader in your community- it’s the reason so many companies practice corporate philanthropy with employee volunteer initiatives. If possible, find a pro bono (skills-based) opportunity where your professional services are in high-demand. If you’re at a loss for where to start, check out one of these sites: VolunteerMatch, AllForGood, CreateTheGood, or HandsOnNetwork.
Find your passion
If you do what you love, you’ll never have to work another day in your life. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. People will not look to you for leadership and guidance if it is evident that you do not care about the goals of the company. If you love what you do, then your passion will come through and others will want to emulate your dedication to the job.
Call upon your strengths
While there are certain skills that leaders should possess, such as dedication, integrity, empowerment, communication, creativity, and passion, everyone has their own unique set of strengths that can be equally valuable. You shouldn’t have to change your core personality for a job, but you can evaluate what you bring to the table, and leverage those strengths.