How to Show Others You’re a Leader
I know many people have asked this question, and the answer is simple.
The answer is: you lead.
Let me expand on this a bit with a story.
The tale of the self-marketing athlete.
I have been somewhat involved in the coaching of sports at various levels, from my young son’s flag football team all the way to college-level athletics.
Throughout this experience, I’ve frequently noticed that one guy (sorry gentlemen, it is usually a guy) that loves to hover around the coach like a moth to the flame, requesting in the most annoying manner to be put in the game.
You probably know of someone like this, that one player screaming in a pestering manner, “Put me in coach! I’m ready coach!”
Inevitably, and sadly, as it always turns out, those individuals are never as good as they believe themselves to be.
They’re simply better at marketing themselves than their substance would support. In fact, if you could buy those people for they are ACTUALLY worth and sell them for what they THINK they are worth, then you could probably retire tomorrow!
Don’t be “that guy!”
To bring this analogy back to leadership, don’t be the pesky player suggesting “Make me a leader! Put me in that role! I can be a leader!”
Real leaders don’t do that, real leaders just… lead. And real leaders don’t order and command, they inspire.
So go out and do just that, but always do so in the sphere with which you are assigned, but always with a little bit extra. Don’t be an organizational terrorist, usurping the leader you are required to follow by assuming leadership of areas you aren’t meant to lead.
Lead in the area that you’re assigned with excellence, and good things will happen.
By doing so, you will sooner or later create an attraction from those around you through the work you accomplish. This leads to upward mobility options, as those positioned above you will take notice of your performance. They are the one’s that make the decisions on where you’re placed, where you’re allocated. And just like a coach, they will always be looking for players of substance, not marketers of self.
Demonstrate your skills in your respective field of play and you’ll be asked to play in bigger situations, in larger stadiums, and in more important events and issues.
There are always opportunities to demonstrate your leadership.
So your current position doesn’t require you to lead a team?
Well, then become the leader of a team of one, yourself, and lead that team exceptionally well.
Just because you’re alone in your “department” doesn’t mean that others won’t notice your example and follow it.
Manager yourself as if you were part of a team, holding yourself accountable. This is a long lost skill that is extremely important to leadership. The ability to hold yourself accountable speaks to your ability to hold others accountable and manage them because if you can do the former, you can certainly do the latter.
You don’t need a large team or large profile project in order to demonstrate those skills. If you’re asked to do x, y, and z, then do x, y, and z with a cherry on top (being on time, under budget, and beyond expectations) and you’ll be trusted with more.
This will attract other projects and opportunities to your doorstep, and to keep with our sports analogy, establish yourself as a player the coach can count on at the critical moment. Soon enough thereafter, you’ll find your number being called more and more.
Let your output do the talking.
Never get too caught up in the marketing of yourself.
Great work, great output, and smooth processes are the best marketing you can ask for and always speak for themselves.
I usually assume those who ask how to prove themselves as leaders are asking because they want to do more in terms of realizing their potential.
If that is the case, then you will be well on your way to true leadership.