Young people should not be afraid to embrace leadership roles, according to career experts.
Forbes argues that young people who are observant, have the right attitude and are keen to learn should put themselves forward for leadership roles.
These 10 tips, based on insights from educational psychologist Dr Katharine Brooks and career advice authors Alexandra Levit, Al Coleman and Ryan Kohnen, aim to help young people prepare for leadership in the workplace.
- Prepare before you enter the workforce
By volunteering in local social or non-profit organisations, you can gain early exposure to leadership roles and build up confidence in your ability to handle challenges in the workplace.
- Seek the advice of others
There’s nothing wrong with embracing the leadership resources that are available to you. Whether this is reading leadership books or taking professional development courses, absorbing the knowledge of others is a positive step in the right direction.
- Understand the culture of your workplace
Use your eyes and ears to see how other staff members act. Understand how they communicate, how they deal with others and what their expectations are – especially your boss. What is their style? Pick this up, and adapt your own way of working.
- Be keen to learn
Just because you’re no longer in full-time education, doesn’t mean you should abandon your desire to learn. Absorb new information, and don’t judge situations or make assumptions without the right information. Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
- Identify areas where you can provide a different insight
Remember that you may have a different view of the world and a different field of knowledge to others. If, for example, you’re more tuned in to the latest developments in social media than your colleagues, don’t be afraid to show this. Equally, if you think you can improve the way something is done, come up with an idea, and have the confidence to suggest it.
- Put your hand up
If you make clear that you’re willing to help and take on responsibility, you’re already taking steps towards becoming a leader. Volunteer to work on extra projects and not only will you gain job-specific skills but also valuable leadership experience.
- Work hard
Don’t overlook one of the fundamentals – make sure you are doing your work to the best of your ability, even the seemingly most basic or mundane tasks. Every piece of work is an opportunity to impress. As Dr Brooks says, “If you don’t do the basic tasks well, no one will trust you with more complex tasks.” Equally, learn the rules of the office, and make sure you’re putting in the hours. Don’t be the last to arrive and first to leave.
Get to know your colleagues, not only as co-workers, but as people. This means you can connect with them on a personal level, and you will be remembered for all the right reasons. Don’t be afraid to communicate and share your results and show the impact you’re having.
- Don’t take all the credit for yourself
Firstly, don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether for a specific piece of work, or about working life generally. But if you’re complimented on a piece of work, and you’ve been given help, make sure you mention the contribution. Great leaders always acknowledge the work of others.
- Find yourself a mentor
Build your relationships with your superiors. Take note of what they do, what makes them a great leader, and find an effective leader to work with on a project. This will give you a great opportunity to work with, and learn from, someone with great leadership skills.
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Author: Joe Myers is a Digital Content Producer at Formative Content.
Image: A woman with a book sits on a bench at the departure area at the Fraport airport in Frankfurt November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner