A great leader has several unique qualities.
They know when to delegate, give credit where it is due, and think outside the box. They also inspire lasting motivation and have an expansive influence to bring positivity even during stressful times.
They also manage projects efficiently and have excellent communication skills. But, most importantly, a leader takes responsibility and owns up to their mistakes.
Now that you’ve gone through all the corporate leadership coaching, workshops, and training, it’s time to show everyone what you’ve learned. First, however, you need to be careful not to overdo the flaunting of your newly honed skills; else, it’ll work against you.
To help you go about this properly, below is a list of the five best ways to demonstrate your leadership skills at work:
1. Over-perform and inspire others to follow suit
Bosses expect their underlings to produce the required results within a given timeframe and budget. Considering this, some might say that no one cares how much effort you put into your work since you are the boss.
Still, good leadership begins with demonstrating the ideal (if not better) level of performance at work. However, outstanding leaders don’t just over-perform once to attract attention – they do so consistently to inspire others to do the same.
Over-performing is about producing results earlier than needed. It also entails the efficient use of resources (e.g., use less money than what is allotted).
Still, some might argue that the better measure of a leader’s performance is to spark a competitive spirit across the company. So, if you want your bosses to notice your leadership skills, you’ll have to inspire everyone to aim above and beyond what is expected of them.
2. Get a more expansive view of things
Many times, workers get stuck to the limited view of their position. Unfortunately, this usually happens in people with no interest or inclination for leadership.
In contrast, a natural leader (or someone who aims to be one) tends to look at the company through a bigger lens. This helps them understand challenges and make better decisions for the good of the greater whole.
For instance, a hospital’s supply chain department reduces medicines and other medical supplies to cut costs. While that helps save money upfront, it slows down the facility’s capability to deliver the best patient care possible.
From a broader perspective, a good leader will notice that the cost-saving measure isn’t worth the higher cost resulting from subpar patient care affecting the entire hospital.
Besides considering the company, looking at the bigger picture also entails scouting ideas from other industries that could be implemented in one’s own sector.
An excellent example of this is pharmaceutical companies using the same drive-through idea from fast-food chains. Whoever thought of letting people buy medicine in the comforts of their vehicle is one excellent leader with exceptional skill for problem-solving.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that leaders already know everything there is to know. Life is a journey of constant learning, which means there will always be some new knowledge you’ll learn as you rise to the top of the corporate ladder.
That being said, if you truly wish to show how good a leader you are, you should never hesitate to ask questions. When the situation calls for it, be inquisitive and enrich your knowledge as much as possible.
Besides giving you the proper tools to do your best in your role, this also shows how dedicated and enthusiastic you are about your work.
Who knows, your questions might even spark some great ideas that could ultimately lead to the organization’s growth.
4. Open your ears, not just your mouth
Leaders spend a good amount of their time communicating with members of their team. Since communication is a two-way process, this means you’ll need to open your ears, too, and not just your mouth.
Remember, good communication is a critical leadership skill. It would be best if you listened closely to those around you. Observe other people gain deeper insights, and come up with sound ideas.
Once you become receptive to others, you can learn from their approaches. And once you get a lot of information from your environment, you can make critical decisions while taking everything – ideas, perspectives, and factors – into account.
Even better, listening gives you a chance to earn other people’s respect. And when team members respect their leader, everyone in the team benefits.
5. Own your work — mistakes and all
Owning your work isn’t just about taking credit for positive results; it’s also about accepting your mistakes and doing something to make them right.
Accepting one’s own flaws at work is a strong sign of solid leadership. After all, no good leader welcomes praises for good things and then points fingers when criticisms emerge.
Good leadership is also about extending your involvement beyond the process. It would be best if you were accountable for reaching your goals and what results lie ahead.
When projects don’t go as planned, avoid dwelling on what went wrong or who’s to blame. Instead, proactively seek ways to remedy the problem.
By showing that you can accept criticism as much as praise and act fast on solving issues resulting from your actions, you demonstrate your sense of stability – a vital quality of a good leader.
Be a Proud Leader
How fast you climb the corporate ladder isn’t the true measure of success, as it takes more to become a true, respected leader.
When you become a leader that you can be proud of, only then can you – in all honesty – say, “I did it.”
Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI), and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.