Becoming a Leader in the Workplace | Tips on Standing Out from the Crowd

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You have probably heard the infamous phrase, “leaders are born, not made.”  However, with the right attitude and a little effort, virtually any professional can become a recognized leader in the workplace.  Leadership is a learned set of behaviors, and the ability to lead is a skill that has to be developed.

Stand Out as a Leader in Your Organization

Seek Out Opportunities to Lead
Offer to help out on projects other than those that have been assigned to you in order to gain more experience.  This will help you discover your abilities and improve on your weaknesses.  If a formal leader is absent from the workplace, take the opportunity to step up and lead. When your skills are relevant to a situation, step forward and offer your advice.  The more responsibility you take on (without overloading yourself), the quicker your managers will see your ability to handle projects successfully and be a leader.    

Own Your Work.
In order to advance in the workplace, you must be willing to take responsibility for your actions.  If you’re working on a project and something goes wrong, own up to the mistake, take the blame, and move on.  Being able to admit your mistakes and learn from them is a leadership quality that will set you apart from other employees that are always pointing fingers elsewhere. 

Be Positive.
It’s important to avoid the complaining sessions and steer clear of the rumor mill.  You don’t want to set yourself apart in a negative way.  People in a workplace gravitate towards team members that have a positive energy.  You’ll gain respect from your coworkers, as well as your managers.

Try New Things.
All great leaders take chances, even if it means they might fail.  Being able to step outside your comfort zone and try new things are qualities of a leader.  If you notice something isn’t working and have an idea of how you can improve it, don’t be afraid to speak up.  Even though your idea may not be fool proof, the worst that can happen is you’ll revert back to how the process is working now.  Managers take notice of employees that are proactive and want to improve the business. 

Ask for Feedback.
Many employees shy away from feedback and take criticism to heart.  However, in order to know how you’re really doing, you have to actively seek feedback from others.  You might think you’re doing a great job and then find out nobody else agrees. The feedback and suggestions from others are important to your career growth. Feedback allows you to identify weaknesses and come up with a better plan. Regular feedback will give you the fuel you need for new ideas and perspective.

Give it Your All.
Being a leader does not mean simply showing up on time everyday and doing the minimum that’s required.  In order to stand out as a leader, you have to be willing to show up early, work hard, and stay late. You have to put in the extra hours if you want to reach your full potential.  Give every project 120 percent effort. The more ideas you put in, the more input and recognition you will get back.  You have to show others that you are there to succeed.

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