4 Ways to Position Yourself to Move Into Leadership

Repackage yourself as a Unique Subject Matter Expert

Consider all of the inefficient time-consuming processes which you have re-engineered over time with sleeves rolled up or simply by directing others to improve, along with those functions which you now execute brilliantly. Whether deep dive or wide-across, your full knowledge-base can often be swept under the rug, underestimating your lessons learned and experience.

You stepped up when duty called

Even if you haven’t officially held a management title, there is always a leadership track record you should be self-promoting. This can be based on past projects where you have stepped up when duty called. If you have supervised one or two people in your career, even in a mentoring role and guided them to succeed, this counts. If you were once the go-to person who fixed everyone else’s problems, managed expectations plus handled all of your workload to boot, then you have demonstrated how to run a virtual support center, even if whom you served in help-desk mode was limited to a small group of colleagues. Sift through every big and little win to share a powerful story to highlight your leadership legacy.

Your industry insights foraged over the years given all of your experience.

Don’t fall trap to the self-sabotage thinking that you don’t have any insights. If you simply have a pulse on how business moves in your industry that counts. If you have made your own conclusions about trends on a small scale, you are an expert. Care less about where you drew your conclusions from and more on the fact that you have an opinion on it and can engage in meaningful conversations.

When discussing your career track record, highlight:

Your functional area of expertise.
Your insight, pulse and opinions on your industry. What are the trends happening?
Your knowledge around a company’s products or those of the company you are seeking to join.
Your experience navigating “systems” naturally (knowing how things get done).
The end-to-end processes you can walk through of a specific function.
Your lessons learned and hands-on experience.
Your leadership legacy as a mentor, project manager, team lead, assistant, or supervisor.

Once taking inventory of your entire career track-record you inevitably become comfortable in self-promote mode leaving an impression which makes you memorable for new opportunities and in-line for referrals a la your unpaid sales force – a trusted pipeline where others happily put their reputation on the line referring you on, because they can feel your confidence.

Struggling with your CONFIDENCE levels? Want to MAXIMIZE your POTENTIAL, PROJECT your CREDIBILITY and ELIMINATE ANXIETY in any work situation?

In our Gutsy Leadership Programs, learn how to have a Rock-Solid Confidence in all your Communication. Self-Promote as a Professional Expert. Implement Fierce Time Management. Eliminate Anxiety and Shift your Mindset and Inner Beliefs about your Self-Worth.

How to Go From Worker Bee to Gutsy Thought Leader

If senior management was subject to surprise inspections while planning for major projects, behind closed doors you would find them vetting through a short list of select team players, asking one question of their trusted wingmen on the ground: is this guy or gal a worker bee or leader? Leaders do everything it takes to navigate the company in order to achieve each project milestone. They can effectively matrix manage people not necessarily their direct reports and consistently communicate the business needs up-front giving the team direction. A worker bee steps up when duty calls, hits the ground running to execute. They know their jobs so well, they are considered the subject matter experts in their functional area. They can perform the step-by-step of their role in their sleep, be exceptional team players and are fulfilled by being relied upon to “get the job” done.

While there’s nothing wrong with being the trusted go-to player, as a career coach, what I often hear of around this career stage, is that the thrill of just producing can eventually peter out, eventually causing them to feel black boxed into just one category. They simply become bored. What’s next then? You can step up and morph into a gutsy thought leader. They no longer wish to be the one who just executes but the person who gets paid more for their opinions based on all of their experience from being a worker bee for so long.

Consistently Push back

Remove the need to please and be-liked gene. While as a worker bee, you loved producing results churning out your best product whenever called upon, as a gutsy thought leader you set boundaries and ask questions around the business needs before executing. You don’t sit in every meeting and protect your time fiercely declining drop-in visitors who ask for five minutes of your time at every turn. Instead of pushing other people’s agendas, you stop time leaks and push your own agenda to reinvent yourself with a leadership mindset.

Bundle your expertise into a package

Take your years of experience and lessons learned and package your expertise as a product when sitting in meetings. You pitch your ideas based on the pitfalls you learned the hard way and become the credible resource raising the red flags during the project because you know exactly how things should be run, the right way. You go from being 1-2-3 task-oriented to looking at your job from a higher level lens, wired to see the full picture versus just your previous corner of the world. A gutsy thought leader drops a bomb in a meeting challenging the status quo when needed and is recognized for their creative approach to solutions.

Manage and Mentor someone

Flex your leadership muscle and find someone who is anxious and willing to take on more to grow in their career, whom you can easily mentor and train. This can be a consultant, an intern, a recent college grad who needs someone to take them under their wing. This not only establishes your leadership chops but also gives you more credibility when larger projects open up and management is hunting for someone who has the entire package: delivering service with value. You have the expertise, understand the business but can also manage and motivate people well.

Struggling with your CONFIDENCE levels? Want to MAXIMIZE your POTENTIAL, PROJECT your CREDIBILITY and ELIMINATE ANXIETY in any work situation?

In our Gutsy Leadership Programs, learn how to have a Rock-Solid Confidence in all your Communication. Self-Promote as a Professional Expert. Implement Fierce Time Management. Eliminate Anxiety and Shift your Mindset and Inner Beliefs about your Self-Worth.

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