Lead at Any Age or Position: 6 Steps to Take Charge and Advance

Leadership advocate Dan Forbes shares strategy to wake up the boss in you

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One of the fastest ways for you to advance in your career is by grooming and branding yourself as a leader. And get this: You don’t need to have a fancy title to be recognized by your boss and peers as a leader.

Leadership advocate, speaker, and writer Dan Forbes (@DanVForbes), is the mastermind behind the Lead With Giants online leadership community. Forbes formed this movement in an effort to empower professionals with resources that help them realize that we all are leaders and we can all become better at leadership.

Particularly for BlackEnterprise.com readers, Forbes shares insights about career growth and advancement for leaders in the making:

BlackEnterprise.com: How can an employee in an entry-level position lead without the official title of authority?

Forbes: In its simplest form leadership is influence. You don’t need a title to be a leader. Start by leading yourself. Take responsibility for your own development and influence others to do the same.

What are two to three key things that prevent young employees from leading?

First, not recognizing that they already are a leader; being too impatient and unwilling to learn from those who have gone before them—the best leaders are learners; and unwillingness to do whatever it takes (hard work).

What is a common characteristic or trait that junior and senior employees both need?

It’s hard to nail it down to just one trait, but I would say consistency. Be consistent in character, competency, communication, commitment, and contribution. Without consistency all the other traits are useless.

How can young people get promoted into leadership positions?

Start leading now. Start by leading yourself. Determine where the gaps are in your leadership skill-set and work on closing those gaps. Become the best person you can be and you will begin to attract the attention of others. When ANY leadership role is offered to you, take it; and give it your best in an effort to prove to others that you can lead. Lastly, don’t focus on getting a promotion, focus on making a contribution and delivering results.

What if a person is not the aggressive or authoritative type? How can they lead from where they are?

Forget the old command-and-control style of leadership. Today’s greatest leaders are not aggressive or authoritative. Be authentic, be genuine, be real, and even be vulnerable. Lead from where you are by showing up, volunteering, and taking on responsibilities as they are offered.  You must also be engaged, reliable, dependable and consistent.

When you were a young employee, what do you wish that you would have known?

I wish I had known that it was more important to be kind than to be right. You will influence others more through caring and compassion than you will through persuading others that you are right.

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