There is a general misconception that an individual needs to have the title of “Manager” or “Director” to be a leader. However, this could not be further than the truth.
Leadership doesn’t just mean having a fancy title and lots of supervisees. Leaders stand out not only for their individual contributions, but also for their ability to inspire others, to create a sense of community, and to help organisations weather turbulent situations.
Opportunities to lead within the workplace are everywhere and can be embraced from any position within an organisation. We’ve put together a few ways on how any employee can have a substantial impact on their organisation, no matter his/her title or position.
Despite the best intentions, many companies find themselves obstructed by information bottlenecks. Even when performing at their best, if employees aren’t communicating between projects or departments it can cause problems. Lack of communication can lead to mistakes, duplicated effort, and missed opportunities – all of which impact profitability, productivity, and employee morale.
Leaders communicate across the different areas within an organisation. They make it a point to connect to individuals working on other projects and departments. These important connections help to cultivate the relationships that will drive productivity.
It Takes a Team
Leadership roles start from the ground up by working well within a team. Look for opportunities to be part of the team. Consider volunteering to work outside of your job description, helping other team members when you can. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty by taking on your share of the grunt work. This also goes back to effective communication. Great team members are active and generous with their ideas and information.
You’d be surprised what a positive attitude can accomplish in the workplace. Remember to lead by example and demonstrate enthusiasm. Always refrain from complaining. Above all, avoid office gossip. These might seem like instructions for being a nice person, but they’re also a recipe for strong leadership.
Allow Fellow Employees to Shine
Leadership often means empowering others to shine. A great leader not only recognises the talents of their employees but leverages those talents for the benefit of the company. This means sharing the credit for successes and being inclusive of individuals who may otherwise feel overlooked.
Regardless of your position, you can boost morale by giving compliments freely, and offering constructive criticism in a manner that will benefit someone else.
Improve a System or Process
Oftentimes, managers and supervisors aren’t exposed to the daily hands-on experience of the employees they are leading. Every employee is in the position to streamline daily workflow processes and procedures. Who better to examine the daily operations of any company than the employees themselves? When you’re working from the trenches, you’re highly qualified to evaluate the systems and processes you use every day.
Leaders understand the importance of improving workflows and procedures. Do you have ideas for how to automate areas of your work? Perhaps you’ve noticed redundancies in departmental workflows? Maybe you’ve experienced duplicate efforts in different departments? If you are aware of an opportunity to improve any aspect of your workflow, don’t shy away from sharing your ideas.
How to Be Recognized as a Leader
Perhaps you’re reading this and wondering, “What’s the point of striving to lead others if my leadership potential isn’t going to be recognized?” More often than not, managers and supervisors recognise the efforts of their employees, as that’s partly what makes them great leaders in the first place. However, if you’re feeling undervalued and unrecognised for your efforts, speak up.
Tell your manager what you’re working on, and who you are working with. Have a conversation with your supervisors about formally taking on more responsibilities at work or gaining an advancement. Remain positive and be sure to highlight your experiences and successes.
The above tips all provide excellent opportunities to gain leadership experience. If you strive to lead others and maintain a positive attitude, potential employers will be impressed with your initiative and commitment to the greater good of the organisation.