Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Being a leader isn’t about experience or talent, or star power, or charisma. It’s about enthusiasm, work ethic, and consistency. It’s about always leading by example. This is not easy, but it’s also not complicated.
Do an outstanding job every day and lead by example:
Leaders don’t strive to do a good job: They strive to do an outstanding job all the time, every single day. In the work world, doing a good job is what you are being paid for and is the minimum required and expected. Doing an outstanding job is leadership. This means arriving early, staying late, and not simply trying to get ahead, but working to help the organization you work for succeed and achieve its mission... 100% of the time. Here’s how to do an outstanding job and lead by example:
Work hard consistently:
Working hard and with urgency when there’s a big deadline or major pitch is great but that is what is expected. Giving it your all, with full on effort, all of the time, is what will set you apart. Work hard even when you think noone will notice when you think noone is watching. You will get caught in the act.
The person running the show is not necessarily the smartest or the most talented. A leader is someone who helps make the organization and its members better, smarter, and more talented. Enthusiasm is contagious. The more you get genuinely excited about your organization and what you are doing, the more you will inspire others to do the same.
Don’t complain to anyone in your company or organization about your job, EVER. If it gets back to your boss they will feel betrayed and annoyed that you didn’t speak to them directly. If you have an issue or complaint, speak openly to your boss and if that doesn’t work, then keep doing a great job and plan your next move elsewhere. Never say anything negative about your boss or your coworkers. Assume that anything you say will get back to them, because it probably will. If others are speaking negatively about your organization, your boss, or a colleague, politely remove yourself from the conversation. Rising above negativity, and being known as a positive force, will help you land on top.
Think and act like the owner or CEO:
No matter how junior or senior you are, treat your organization like it’s your own. Of course your first responsibility is to do an outstanding job at whatever is in your “job description.” But as a leader, think and act like you are running the place. What is best for the overall mission of the organization? Identify problems, come up with solutions, and follow through to execute them.
Meet all deadlines.
No matter what. Be someone that can be counted on for requests big and small. Whether it is for a client, your boss, a coworker, or even filling out a form for HR, meet all deadlines efficiently and with a smile. Always deliver on time and be early whenever you can.
Don’t make excuses.
When you make a mistake: Apologize, take responsibility and move on.
While impressing your boss is important, the best way to do this is by developing great relationships with your colleagues. What will set you apart as a leader is how you treat your co-workers and your team. Give credit and support to others. Be someone who doesn’t just want to advance themselves but who wants to help others. Be seen as someone who raises others up. Ultimately, this leadership will be recognized and rewarded.
Always put your organization’s interests first except when you shouldn’t:
Of course you want to be recognized by your superiors for doing good work, but again that is the minimum expected in the work world. Make your own interests second to those of your organization and even of your co-workers. Don’t just be the star player. Be a coach and a captain who is trying to help the whole team win.
As a leader, you always want to be generous to your organization and co-workers unless it is not a good environment for you to thrive and excel. In that case, put your own interests first. Keep doing a great job while you research thoroughly and quickly, and plan your next move to a place where you can be a leader.