Advice I often give to those aspiring to a leadership position is to be open and receptive to unique situations, even if the situation results in an unexpected career turn. Success can be achieved by talking to people about their ideas and discussing ways to help implement them. Leaders never shy away from a complicated assignment. Undertake the challenge, and you will stand out from the crowd and make yourself memorable.
I believe that performance counts, and, in the long run, it is performance that matters. With performance comes personal credibility, reputation and trust. Great leaders motivate teams and roll up their sleeves to make things happen. They are engaged with their colleagues and follow up on conversations and action items.
Following are my tips that will help open doors to an accomplished future:
Take risks. Push yourself to excel at whatever you do, and do it with passion. You never know what you can do if you don’t try. Often the seemingly unachievable or additional project gives you the perfect opportunity to show your strengths, gain visibility, meet new people and learn fresh skills. Don’t be afraid to volunteer or delegate.
Build relationships and collaborate. Communicate your interests and the reasons for your interests. Don’t simply focus on the better title. Concentrate on where you can add value. Everyone brings a different perspective and set of experiences to a situation. Use your team and others to help you succeed; and coach and mentor others along the way. Ask for help. It shows good judgment, gains buy-in and helps issues to surface sooner. Most importantly, say “thank you.”
Communicate, but don’t forget to listen. Practice expressing yourself both verbally and in writing. Leaders must have the ability to take difficult issues and express them simply so that decisions can be made. Leaders also must grasp and advance the long-term objective.
Don’t expect to be right all the time. My first mentor’s advice was, “If you are right most of the time, you have a great batting average.” Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from them. Great leaders adjust and progress. Leadership is about making decisions, dealing with ambiguity and having a vision, even when the final outcome is uncertain.
Lastly, leaders surround themselves with people who have the judgment, creativity, urgency, tenacity and vision to make things happen.