The benefits to being a leader are many. Beyond the obvious uplift in compensation, many will tell you that it is the intrinsic value that makes it all worth it. Being in a position to lead innovation, grow and develop others, and see ideas take shape and come to life are some of the intangible rewards that motivate leaders to do what they do. Once you’ve set your sights on achieving this career goal, there are some key actions you should consider implementing in order to get you there.
Plan Your Trajectory
Start thinking about what your next two career moves should be. Why two? Considering what the next two roles down the road are forces you be more strategic about your career decisions. Rather than just thinking about the next job, it becomes more of a map for how to get you to your ultimate destination.
Develop Key Leadership Traits
A simple google search will bring up loads of articles on the subject of leadership. You’ll notice however that common themes tend to appear over and over again despite who the author of the book or article is. Get to know what those core traits are and work on developing them in yourself.
Build Your Professional Brand
Building your brand is essential to moving up in the workplace. Your peers, your boss and your boss’ bosses need to know who you are and what you bring to the table. Placing significant focus on your brand will ensure that you get the recognition you need to be top of mind to the key decisionmakers.
Get a Mentor & Sponsor
Although it may sound like the same thing, these two roles serve different purposes and both are very important. A Mentor will help guide, grow and support you through your career journey. The role of a Sponsor is to advocate on your behalf and open doors. They are not there to help you build your skills – the expectation is that you already have what it takes – their task is to see that others know it too and take action.
Hire an Expert
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a senior leader who hasn’t worked with a Coach or Consultant. That’s because even the most talented people know that to be at their best, they need help. We all have our blind-spots and an expert can help you see and correct them. They can also provide you with tools that help improve your skills and abilities. Athletes, politicians, celebrities, CEO’s, executives, business professionals all use experts. You’ll find that the more successful a person is, the more experts in the form of coaches, consultants, mentors and sponsors they have around them. They’ve figured out that although you can do it alone, nothing replaces the counsel of people who can share their wisdom with you and make what could be a long difficult road, that much easier and shorter.