In the past, you got a job at a company, worked hard, might have earned a couple of promotions, and then retired from that company once you were in your 60s. This model no longer really appeals to the masses, especially those coming in from the younger generations. People no longer want to stay in one place their entire career.
The job market is extremely competitive, and you could get offered way more for doing the same job at a different company with all sorts of different perks. You don’t have to stay in one place to receive them. One thing that’s still relevant is the fact that people still want to grow as professionals and climb that corporate ladder.
However, that ladder isn’t as straight as it used to be. This is why so many people hop from company to company in search of room to grow. Everyone has the desire to move up, to be acknowledged for their worth, and to grow. Growth is a natural part of life, which is why it is desired in every aspect of life – both personally and professionally.
There is a big discrepancy between millennials and baby boomers when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder. Natural promotions after a few years no longer apply. It’s all up to competitiveness and getting things done now. So how can people in the generation of now, now, now become a boss? Let’s take a closer look at a few important things to remember and as well as a few changes you need to make to your work ethic.
1 – Understanding Different Leadership Styles
Before we get into anything, it is important that you understand the difference between traditional leadership and servant leadership approaches. Traditional leadership styles are a little lackluster and definitely don’t work for everyone. Servant leadership stands in stark contrast to traditional leadership, and it is important that you understand both if your aim is to conquer a leadership position.
According to Kurt Uhlir’s guide, traditional leadership is strongly hierarchical and authoritative in nature. The boss is superior to everyone else and manages with the company’s monetary goals in mind. Servant leadership is more concerned with the idea that the boss is placed in a leadership position to help service the needs of others in the workplace to ensure the company’s goals are met as a team.
Servant leadership is about encouraging those on your team to succeed through active listening and positive coaching, whereas traditional leadership is about asserting one’s power and control over others to achieve an end goal.
Servant leadership promotes working to build confidence in the workplace through mentorship, by exercising authority and empathy, not just authority as is the case with traditional leadership. When you build the confidence of your team members, you have access to a plethora of resources that can be found in their strong points. You can use their skills to better the completion of tasks and projects, blurring the lines between job descriptions and focusing on the abilities of your team to complete tasks, rather than purely focusing on their job descriptions.
Tradition leadership does things differently. It enjoys a strict organizational layout as well as the delineation of authority. The skills of individuals on your team are not necessarily the focal point of task completion. The leader is expected to delegate tasks to departments and often has no personal knowledge of the people who work within them. Fear of disciplinary action is the main motivation feature of this leadership style.
There are, of course, a bunch of hybrids of these two styles combined in various ways. It is up to you to figure out which style suits you best and to adapt it to your team, as well as corporate expectations. This is a sign of good leadership – being able to make adaptions when necessary.
Now that you’re a little more familiar with the different ways of leading a team, let’s look at how to show you’re a leader and that you should be the boss.
2 – Have A Career Plan
It is important that you have some sort of career plan in place. Without one, people tend to chop and change their career path before they’re reached the good part. Rather than leave when things become slightly inconvenient, or even difficult, have a plan in place of what you need to achieve in order to reach your goals as well as realize your full potential.
Try to stick to a long-term career plan. This can be a tricky task for millennials, as they are known as a generation who like instant gratification. You can combat this by including micro-steps in your plan. This is a great way to show you that you are achieving your goals and not stagnating. You can change things as your life changes, but having a plan in place to achieve your end goal of becoming a boss is important.
3 – Show That You Are A Resource
Showing that you are desirable makes you a resource to the company. Your plan should include continuing your education. Regardless of any changes you make to your career plan, having some formal education to back you up is really important. You can do online courses in your free time to further your education and make you look even more desirable in a leadership position.
You can build your skillset in other ways, too. You can do this by reading articles related to your field, attending conferences relating to your industry as well as management, listening to industry-related podcasts, and you can even follow industry leaders on social media. This will help you grow beyond your current job title and mold you into someone who has the potential to become a boss at any company.
Another way you can show you are a valuable resource is through your network. Networking is a corporate buzzword. You can use your network to leverage getting the best possible starting position in a company. The more people you know, as well as who you know, can get you very high up on the corporate ladder.
4 – Put in the Work
Putting in the work is about more than just putting in the hours. Show that you are not only a hard worker but that you are good at your job. This doesn’t necessarily mean working longer hours to prove your dedication, but it does mean producing good quality work.
Treat things with the urgency they deserve and volunteer for those high-visibility projects that you know you can achieve. Always try to contribute more, and build a reputation as the go-to person or as someone who will get the job done.
5 – Keep The Company’s Goals in Mind
The higher-ups in any corporate organization like measurable, quantifiable results. This is why it is important that you record and file all of your achievements. It is even more important that you make the connection between your achievements that align with the company’s priorities.
Go out of your way to find out which projects are being funded by the company, who is in charge of these projects, and which priorities are high. Try to get into projects that are high-priority projects and show your worth. This makes you visible are creates a platform for you to shine and show how well you can work under pressure.
6 – Dream Bigger
Don’t let your work be limited to the bare minimum of what you are officially assigned to do. Work out of the box and go beyond what everyone else does to achieve completion. It is important, however, that you don’t let this cloud your other responsibilities. Practice balance and emulate success. This includes dressing the part. Always dress to impress and for the position you want.
7 – Think and Act a Level Above
Emulating your success doesn’t end with how you dress. It extends well into how you conduct yourself as well as how well you work. This means that you shouldn’t ever just stick to doing the bare minimum. Do things in a similar way to the way someone in the position you want to hold does. Show that you are intent on getting a promotion and that you have leadership potential.
Do this by paying attention to the people at the top and creating your conditions for success. Once you achieve your goal of becoming a boss, you’ll find that there are probably all sorts of additional expectations. If you are prepared and paid attention to what others in a leadership position went through, things will be easier.
Many new bosses feel as though they are a tool or a target of organizational change initiatives. This leads to defining and understanding their responsibilities too narrowly and when push comes to shove, they don’t take action and let others fix their problems. It is important that you learn how to think and act a level above before you are even in a position of responsibility, so as to avoid such scenarios.
Being the new boss means that you have all of the power and a lot of space to reorganize your team. While working towards this, you need to be able to show that you can react favorably to change, both within and outside your area of responsibility, to ensure your team’s success.
8 – Be An Initiator, Not Just An Executor
You need to show that you are more than just a follower. Followers do things once they are told what to do. Initiators can see what needs to get done and do it before they are told what to do. These are the people who move up incredibly quickly. Be the person who steps up to challenges without the need for a leader’s instruction, showing that you are capable of managing complex situations on your own, as well as initiating change for the better.
9 – Forge Good Individual Relationships
You need to foster relationships of authority that come from the development of personal credibility in order to build trust and influence in the workplace. This is done by establishing relationships on more of a personal level with colleagues. You’ll need to understand the individuals on your team in order to harness the potential power of your team. But this goes beyond just a few one-on-one relationships.
As a boss, you will need to focus on the importance of team building – building confidence in your team by getting everyone to bond and form meaningful one-on-one relationships with each other. The best workplaces are ones where the boss knows the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals of their team, has a good one-on-one relationship with them and ensures that the team has a good relationship. You’ll need to foster a good team culture to boost performance.
Don’t have a few trusted subordinates that you focus on. Be present and active in order to support team members who might need assistance. This means that you will be able to make well-informed decisions, not just decisions based on the observations of others who could be biased.
10 – Be a Team Player
When you become a leader it is important that you stay a team player. You are part of a machine that needs all of its parts to be well-oiled and in good condition for it to continue running. If you focus on running individuals individually rather than using individual strengths within a team you will fail to harness the collective power of your group. Practice the importance of working as a team member who guides the process, and delegates based on the strengths of others. Ensure that you are seen as someone who can be a team player and influence others in a positive way.
Becoming a boss doesn’t happen overnight. Often, we like instant gratification, but it is something that one needs to work towards and achieve with effort. You need to master certain skills in order to climb that ladder. The quicker you do that, the quicker you’ll be able to work your way up to becoming a boss.