Leadership skills aren’t just for leaders. Whatever your position in a company, leadership skills will help you to develop in your role, improve your career prospects and help you with team work – even if you don’t ever intend to become a leader. And if you do, you need to be showing those skills beforehand to get into that leadership position. So, what can you do to practice leadership in a non-leadership role?
Mentoring or buddy programmes are a simple way of taking that first step on the road to leadership. Usually involving guidance and support for a more junior member of staff, these schemes are hugely beneficial to both mentor and mentee. It’s the perfect opportunity to share your expertise in a non-threatening environment.
If leading a project isn’t your cup of tea but you still want to practice your leadership skills, try arranging a work charity or social event. You will be able to utilise your management skills to organise and lead people, without the related pressure.
Leadership is all about amplifying others, and finding ways to do this in your day-to-day role is an excellent way of developing these skills. This can be as simple as mentioning when you have found someone’s work useful, suggesting that someone’s skills would be beneficial on a particular project and always thanking those who have helped you.
Leaders always have to keep an eye on the bigger picture. Try to reframe your thinking about your tasks to take into account the bigger picture for the business. This will help you to think more systematically and come up with fresher ideas. If you’re not sure what the bigger picture is, make sure you get into the habit of asking ‘why?’ in meetings to help you understand the direction and reason behind decisions.
Good leaders need to be comfortable giving and receiving feedback. You need to view feedback given to you as a way to continually improve, and develop your skills for providing feedback to others too. With feedback, the most important thing is understanding how each person best receives feedback. Some prefer it to be direct, others prefer it to be framed differently. Taking the time to learn this about your colleagues will be a huge benefit to you.
One of the big differences between leaders and individual contributors is the approach to knowledge sharing. Consider small tasks that are often asked of you – would it be more efficient (and useful to the person making the request) if you took the time to show them how to do it, and document that process for others who may make the same request in the future? Sharing your knowledge helps others to grow and learn. Also consider sharing other insights with your team too – useful documents that you might have received, something you saw online.
If you are ready to move forward into a leadership position, we can help. Head over to our Jobs page to view all of the exciting opportunities that we have available right now.
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