Your leadership skills could use some work. You’re interested in building a successful long term career for yourself (who isn’t?) and you have no plans to sit still and crank out the same work at the same level every single day until you retire. You want to grow, learn, take on more responsibility, and watch your salary increase every year just like everyone else.There’s just one problem: You aren’t a “natural leader”. You don’t have a loud voice, you don’t crave the spotlight, you have little taste for giving orders, and you aren’t naturally magnetic. At parties you tend to play the role of the observer, and you have no innate drive to impose your will upon other people. So what can you do? How can you practice your “leadership” skills and bring out you inner boss? Try these moves.
1. Start using names.
Before you step into any conversation, speak the other person’s name. Don’t just say “Hello”. Say “Hello Steve.” Don’t just say “I have those forms for you to sign”; say “I have those forms for you to sign, Karen.” This is a very small move that can make a huge difference in the attention and respect you receive from other people. Start with this small gesture and notice a difference in the eye contact and comments that come your way.
2. Use statements, not questions.
Don’t ask, just say. Instead of a phrase like, “Don’t you think it will rain?” or “I think it will rain”, keep it simple. Try: “It will rain.” It doesn’t matter if it rains later or not. Words have meaning and power, and if you say it’s so, it’s so. You don’t have to explain, qualify, or seek permission to bend the world according to your own perspective. We all have a right to do this, everyone else does it, and it’s time for you to start doing it too. Start by taking the self-references out of your sentences—remove “I think”, “I feel” and “I’ve decided”. Just delete these and keep the rest of the statement.
3. Practice giving orders.
Hesitant leaders often assume that when they start giving orders, others will resist. But this doesn’t usually happen. Just try it. People are social animals, and they’re almost always willing to accommodate you if you state clearly what you’d like them to do. Start small. Instead of instructing someone to drive you to the airport, start with something like “Hand me that pen, please”, and “Grab that bag and follow me to the trash chute down the hall.” Be polite, clear, and direct. When you get the response you need, say thank you.
4. Ask for challenges.
Don’t be afraid to get in over your head…at least a little bit. If you let yourself be tossed into the deep end, you’ll be surprised by quickly you learn to swim. Ask your boss for more responsibility, even if you aren’t sure you’re ready. If a project needs an official leader, step up and sign up for the role. Bite off more than you can chew. Sometimes this is the best way to learn—And to discover how much you already know.Become the One in ChargeNothing feels better or boosts your confidence more than taking on a leadership role and exceeding your own expectations. Take responsibility for the destinies of others, and you’ll be gaining more control over your own. Turn to MyPerfectResume for help and guidance.