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How to Secure a Leadership Role in 2021

As you climb the career ladder in 2021, your overriding objective might be to secure a leadership role. These job roles typically represent the very highest positions within your industry and highlight your success, talents and hard work. Of course, securing a leadership position isn’t easy. In fact, it can take years of experience and determination to land a top job. However, there are ways you can enhance your suitability and fast-track the process. To ensure you’re on track to land your dream job, take a look at these top tips for securing a leadership role in 2021:

1. Leadership Qualifications

First and foremost, determine whether there are any particular qualifications you’ll need to progress into a leadership position in your industry. Similarly, it’s worth finding out whether there are specific credentials which are favored by employers or business owners.

These qualifications are often sector-specific and will incorporate both theoretical and practical aspects of leadership. If you work in business, for example, an MBA or DBA might be appropriate. Alternatively, an online DNP executive leadership program from an accredited school might be preferred by healthcare employers. With sector-specific options for every industry, you should find it easy to identify relevant qualifications that will give you the grounding you need to move into a leadership role.

2. Take on More Responsibility

Volunteering to take on more responsibility at work will mark you out as a leader and someone who is willing to put in the effort. Although you may not be formally rewarded in terms of an increase in salary just yet, a willingness to accept responsibility is a critical part of being a leader. Volunteering to compile a workplace schedule, train new recruits or monitor project results will help you to gain the respect of your colleagues and recognition from your managers.

Remember – taking on more responsibility doesn’t only refer to tasks that need to be completed within the working day. You could volunteer to train as a first aider or take on the responsibility of planning staff social events, for example. Any opportunity to commit to the team and shoulder more responsibility can signal you out as a good leader.

3. Find a Mentor

Having a mentor can be extremely advantageous when you’re climbing the career ladder. As someone who has already achieved your goals, your mentor will be well-placed to offer advice and assistance. In addition to this, your mentor may have professional contacts and connections, which could help you to secure internships or interviews in the future.

If you’re lucky, you may already have someone in mind who will be willing to act as an informal mentor. If not, there’s no need to panic. There are many programs designed to pair mentors and mentees, so find out which mentoring programs are most successful in your industry and start applying.

4. Hone Your Leadership Skills

As a leader, you’ll need to showcase a wide variety of skills. While some of these skills can be learned via formal courses, such as advanced degrees, others are deemed ‘soft skills’, which need to be developed along the way. To be a successful leader, for example, you’ll need to have the following skills or traits:

  • Good listener
  • Self-motivated
  • Open to feedback
  • Creative thinker
  • Confident public speaker
  • Good communicator
  • Effective motivator
  • Problem-solver
  • Team builder
  • Analytical
  • Decisive
  • Able to delegate
  • Positive
  • Ability to resolve conflicts
  • Diplomatic
  • Trustworthy
  • Reliable
  • Credible
  • Accountable
  • Observant
  • Innovative

As you can see, effective leaders have a wide range of skills they’re able to employ at a moments notice. Given the breadth of responsibility leaders have, they need to be able to call on a range of skills at any time.

While this may seem overwhelming at first, you aren’t expected to naturally possess all the skills associated with good leaders. Instead, you can take steps to enhance your skills over time. You may not be a particularly confident public speaker, for example, but this can be practiced until you’re able to address large groups of people without batting an eyelid. Similarly, you may be unsure how to motivate staff but, by learning more about different leadership styles, you can implement effective strategies to inspire employees.

5. Make Your Goals Known

Many people spend years working diligently in the hope of being promoted to a leadership role, only to be disappointed when they’re overlooked. However, it’s important to ensure that people know you’re actively pursuing promotion opportunities. While you needn’t share this information with your direct colleagues, it’s vital that management are aware of your goals.

Leadership roles require dedication and commitment and not everyone aspires to take on a C-suite role. Furthermore, there is a significant amount of competition for the top roles, so don’t expect them to be bestowed upon you if you haven’t made your interest known.

By applying for supervisory and management roles, you’ll have the chance to take on more responsibility and climb the career ladder gradually. However, this will also give you the chance to spend time with executives and directors. This gives you a great opportunity to discuss your career goals and potential routes to the top. As well as letting the people that matter know about your goals, you’ll also be able to gain advice and information.

Preparing for a Leadership Role

Even when you’ve spent years gaining experiencing and honing your talents, taking on a leadership role can still be a nerve-racking experience. As a leader, you’ll carry a lot of responsibility and you may even have the chance to shape the future of your profession or industry. To ensure you make the most of your opportunity, you’ll want to make sure you’ve taken the time to fully prepare for the role and to determine what type of leader you want to be.

With advanced study, informal experience and a gradual increase in the amount of responsibility you carry at work, you can be confident that you’ll be well-placed to secure a leadership role and that you’ll thrive in your new leadership position.

About Shane Avron

Shane Avron is a freelance writer, specializing in business, general management, enterprise software, and digital technologies. In addition to Flevy, Shane's articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes Magazine, among other business journals.


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