As a business owner and consultant, I get asked often by next-generation leaders how to get started. Contrary to popular belief, the Millennial generation is not void of motivation and tenacity. These leaders are seeking competent and proven mentors to help focus their efforts in impacting their world. Regardless of generational differences, there are some generation-proof methods to getting noticed as a leader. Here are three simple (not always easy) strategies to get noticed and grow in leadership:
Overdelivering may look different depending on your position within a company or sector. It could mean arriving first and/or leaving last to your workplace. It might be that when given a specific research project, you delve a little bit further into the subject than originally asked. Maybe it’s providing recommendations to a challenge rather than just the analysis of the problem.
As you are starting your career as a leader in the marketplace or in a volunteer or extra-curricular activity, take inventory of your tasks. For each assignment, ask yourself, “What’s the extra mile?” Budget your time to allow for the “WOW” — that additional effort you can put into the final product. Consistently overdelivering will exceed any supervisor’s expectations and inevitably lead to our second strategy.
Make your Supervisor Look Good
Often when we are starting out in our careers, we begin in support positions. Many of our assignments are simply the first steps in a broader assignment given to our supervisor. Any extra effort a person gives can’t help but make another person’s job easier. Freeing up some of our boss’s time allows them to be more valuable on up the ladder.
I have never known an effective leader who solely focused on his/her own well-being. Developing the habit of making others around you look good not only builds trust and grows your influence, but will get you noticed too.
Give More and Before
John C. Maxwell defines a leader as “someone who sees more and sees more before.” In other words, leaders have the ability to see more than other people and to see that “more” before other people.
This skill takes some intentional practice and often comes from a wide base of experience and continued life learning. So dive in! As you watch other leaders, observe how they reflect on both the past and the future.
I had a thinking-partner years ago who used to say, “Play that movie through to the end.” By that he meant, when making a decision or devising a strategy, pretend you’re watching a movie. There are only a few plausible choices most characters in any given scene can and will make. Run through those scenarios and evaluate the results of each. This practice can open up your creativity in identifying trends, threats, and solutions.
So, as you seek to make an impact through your extra effort and achievements, keep looking for ways to see more, give more, and bring more value to your supervisor and your team. That combination will not go unnoticed.