Don’t Have a Leadership Title? Not to Worry. You Can Still Think Like a Leader.

Job titles often aren’t a reflection of our true skills, knowledge, or potential. Many of us work way outside the scope of our current job description. Going above and beyond creates opportunity, which in turn results in growth.

But going above and beyond shouldn’t be defined as working overtime or covering for a team that isn’t hitting the mark. Rather, it’s about behaving and thinking like a leader. This is a person that brings teams to life, believes in better, strives for creativity and ingenuity, creates community, and thinks well beyond the bounds of what is possible.

Here are a few tips:

Get Noticed. It’s important to raise your hand and take initiative when opportunities come up, like strategic planning, new projects, sitting on committees, or volunteering. Diving in shows that you’re inspired to move the needle. Thinking like a leader will show others that you get things done and you’re willing to make a contribution and a difference. Grab any opportunity to speak in front of others and express your opinions in a productive manner. By doing so, others will know that their feedback also is wanted, valued, and will be listened to. Taking action will get you noticed.

Build Relationships. It is important to know your team and those that you don’t work directly with. Why? Because everyone brings something to the table and inclusion and belonging is at the heart of organizational success. By building bonds, you will earn trust, and so will your fellows. You can create safe spaces by bringing people together and helping them to feel comfortable voicing their opinions and new ideas. 

Reach Your Hand Across the Table. Collaboration is something that suffered during the pandemic because we lost the closeness of working face to face in an office. It’s time to lead through change and come at challenges with solutions that rely on the integrity of teamwork. Be of service to others. If a peer or team in another department are stuck in a rut, reach your hand out and be part of the solution.

Be Open. Leaders communicate clearly and often. They welcome participation and collaboration. It’s important to practice communication skills, including writing and speaking. But do not forget that active listening is critical. Listen, then act.

Differentiate yourself by becoming an everyday leader. Be aware and purposeful in the way you think, behave, and collaborate with others. Act “as if” and you will become a leader regardless of your job title. And importantly, think about “we” and not “I.” Good leaders succeed by leading innovative and smart teams.