You might be a diligent worker, but if you’re hiding in your office behind a desk, no one will know about your amazing accomplishments or incredible leadership abilities. Effective leadership is a team sport, not a solo experience. You can’t effectively lead “in a vacuum.” Patricia Perkins, CEO of Patricia Perkins & Associates LLC, is a leadership and life coach who was featured in our Job Seekers Readiness Guide (Black Enterprise, July 2010). Dedicated to assisting organizations and employees advance their careers and lives, Perkins offers five ways to step away from your desk and show your value.
Get face time with your leadership team. Identify ways to avail yourself to your leadership team. Ask for short periods of time (15-20 minutes) to obtain input or share success stories related to you and your team. Take advantage of impromptu opportunities, too. Stop by an executive’s office for five minutes, grab a coffee in the company cafeteria, or walk along together to their next meeting. These brief, but valuable touch points can prove beneficial to your career.
Use the STAR method. The STAR method is a simply, but powerful formula for sharing success stories. Start with a situation (S) or task (T), then describe the action (A) you or your team took to improve things. Finally, what were the remarkable results (R) you achieved to show the value you bring to your organization. Try to be as specific and quantifiable in your story as possible. But don’t be afraid to self promote by tooting your own horn from time to time!
Connect people within your network. Have a colleague who needs a new business partner? Know someone who’s looking for a tennis partner? Connect leaders in your network with others based on relevant professional or even personal interests. Sharing your network in business is a great way to expand the depth of who you know and, more importantly, who knows you.
Train your team to celebrate and champion successes. Inspire your team to share success stories, and they’ll be a powerful voice on your behalf. You’ll want to teach them how to champion the obstacles your team has overcome. The STAR method (see #2) is a great way to do this.
Use social networking tools. When used correctly and professionally, social networking sites can help position you as an authority in your industry. Try to strike a balance between personal photos or status updates that show your human side without undermining your professionalism. And share links or announcements that are relevant to your professional interests. This is professional branding.
Ultimately, you want to be perceived as a visible leader who contributes high value, is concerned about the vision of the organization, and powerfully leads teams to successfully carry out that vision.