Do These 7 Things If You Want to Become a Leader

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Article by Susan C. Foster

How do you get noticed as an up-and-coming leader, one who is a key member of their team? How do you set yourself apart so that you will be identified for career success ahead of others?

With a few consistent actions, you can develop your leadership potential, set yourself apart from the ordinary employee, and be noticed as a future leader ahead of your peers:

1. Be a Team Player

According to the Center for Creative Leadership’s “World Leadership Survey,” organizations are looking for leaders who are collaborative, inclusive, and team-oriented. Helping your team deal with conflict, develop cohesion, and work together will quickly set you apart in the eyes of team leaders and managers.

2. Lead From Where You Are

A leader isn’t always identified by a title. One of the most difficult things to do – but something that will get you noticed – is leading while not formally in charge. Improving communications and taking on difficult tasks gets you noticed by team leaders and managers. When it’s time for managers to move on to other opportunities, they will likely think of you first as the right one to move into their position.

3. Be an Expert, But Keep Learning and Mastering New Skills

Performing well in your current role is an excellent way to get noticed. After that, look around and identify additional skills and jobs you can master. Stay on top of changes in your career field. Senior managers notice eager learners who have demonstrated a willingness and aptitude to perform at a higher level.

4. Be Open to Feedback and Criticism

Ask your supervisor for corrective feedback. It might be difficult, but it demonstrates you are both comfortable with your abilities and willing to learn from your mistakes in order to grow in your career. When you are criticized or make a mistake, own it. Ask your manager to elaborate on what the right app approach would have been. That way, you’ll have a clear understanding of their expectations.

5. Demonstrate a Firm Understanding of Client Needs

Up-and-coming leaders set themselves apart by looking for ways to improve products and streamline processes. Use every opportunity to communicate with customers to find out their wants and needs. Identifying ways to save money while improving the client experience will get you noticed by senior managers.

6. Learn to Communicate Well

Future leaders learn to speak and write well. They convey a clear understanding of what needs to be done and why. Speak truthfully and accurately, rather than emotionally, about challenges, then give positive recommendations about how to overcome them.

7. Take Actions and Make Recommendations for the Good of the Organization, Not Yourself

Senior managers want employees who are fearlessly loyal. When making recommendations that conflict with the current situation, articulate in a positive way how your recommendations would be advantageous for the organization and the client. When it’s time to take credit, give it to the entire team. When people know your interests lie int the good of the organization and not personal advantage, you will gain their loyalty.

A version of this article originally appeared on

Susan C. Foster is a former executive and 24/7 workaholic who now coaches executives and careerists. She is a Master Coach and writer and the author of It’s Not Rocket Science: Leading, Inspiring, and Motivating Your Team to Be Their Best.

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