If you want to become a leader, don't wait for the fancy title or the corner office. You can begin to act, think, and communicate like a leader long before that promotion. Even if you're still several levels down and someone else is calling all the shots, there are numerous ways to demonstrate your potential and carve your path to the role you want.
What the Experts Say "It's never foolish to begin preparing for a transition no matter how many years away it is or where you are in your career," says Muriel Maignan Wilkins, coauthor of Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence. Michael Watkins, the chairman of Genesis Advisers and author of The First 90 Days and Your Next Move, agrees. Not only does the planning help you develop the necessary skills and leadership presence, it also increases your chances of getting the promotion because people will already recognize you as a leader. The key is to take on opportunities now, regardless of your tenure or role. "You can demonstrate leadership at any time no matter what your title is," says Amy Jen Su, coauthor of Own the Room. Here are several ways to start laying the groundwork.
Knock your responsibilities out of the park No matter how big your ambitions, don't let them distract you from excelling in your current role. Learn more ways to build a leadership foundation by reading Amy Gallo's complete Harvard Business Review blog post.