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Act Like a Leader Before You Are One

| October 22, 2013

by Jim Bruce

Many aspire to be a formal leader at some point in their career.  The Tuesday Reading for today has some advice for you:  “Act Like A Leader Before You Are One”.  In her HBR blog, Amy Gallo, contributing editor at the Harvard Business Review, suggests that you begin to act, think, and communicate like a leader long before you have reached that ultimate formal state.  To help you, Gallo has a list of “do’s” and don’t’s“ that you should consider:

  1. Knock your current responsibilities out of the park.  In other words, excel in your current role, delivering the results expected of you. 
  2. Help your boss succeed.  Know what keeps your boss awake at night and support that work.
  3. Seize leadership opportunities, no matter how small.  Look for opportunities that take you beyond your work group and your department.
  4. Look for the ”white space.“  Pay attention to things that others are not paying attention to or are actively ignoring.  Take a task that must be done, but which no wants to do, and do it well. You will be noticed.
  5. Find role models.  Observe others, how they act, communicate, and dress.  Sort what you see and hear into behaviors you want to learn to emulate and those you want to avoid.  Practice, practice, practice.
  6. Don’t be a jerk.  Don’t be so ambitious that you come off as a jerk.  Focus on your team and not on putting yourself first.
  7. Be cautious when sharing your ambitions.  Raise them with your manager in a way that focuses on what’s best for your organization.
  8. Build relationships.  As we say in the MOR Leaders Programs, relationships are the currency of the realm.  It is never too early to start building your balance.

So, eight practices that need to go into your tool kit.  Be intentional and loop for opportunities every day.

.  .  .    jim