4 Tips to Get Ahead in your Leadership Career


We like to feel comfortable in what we do so therefore, we don’t always look to making changes or disrupting this feeling of being comfortable.  We like being in our comfort zone as it’s non-threatening, non-scary and well, comfortable.   I like to push myself and participants on my courses out of their comfort zones.  If we stay in our comfort zone, we don’t grow and what is worse than not growing?  Remaining the same as we are.

Here are a few tips that I’ve picked up over the years from Leaders in organisations that I work with on how not to become stagnant in our roles. We need to reach out and push ourselves out of our comfort zones to reach whatever potential we want to achieve.

1.  Don’t be afraid to make a lateral career move.  I’ve come across a number of great Leaders who have done this.  Not only did they push themselves out of their comfort zone which as I said above is always a good thing but they also learnt new skills, built new relationships and learnt about a different area of the business – win, win, win.  Not only that, all this learning made them better Leaders.

2.  Apply the 3 year rule to your position. Take 1 year to get to know the job, use the 2nd year to improve on that job by making changes that will impact the team and the organisation.  Then use the 3rd year to plan a successor and to look for your next role. Apply rule no 1 above if there are no higher positions available.

3.  Build and promote your Personal Brand.  I’m a great believer that most people work hard at their jobs but it’s not enough, you need to also promote and broadcast all the good work you do. Know the top 3 characteristics of your Personal Brand and get them out there by showcasing them to the wider team / department / organisation.  A good place to start is to define the challenges you and/or your team have overcome to achieve success.  Mentor more junior members of the organisation, network both internally and externally to the organisation and broadcast your brand.

A colleague of mine came up with a great question to assess the quality of your brand and it is – do you light up the room when you walk in or when you leave?  I’m currently working with a Leadership Team in an organisation where I advocated the importance of promoting their Personal Brand. Since the 1st part of the programme finished in January, the attendees have set up a Mentoring Panel to mentor the more junior members of the organisation. They have also set up ‘30 minute, lunchtime workshops’ to upskill people throughout the company on areas they are expert in.  These workshops help raise awareness of their Personal Brand and increase the capabilities and knowledge within the organisation.

4.  Evaluate every opportunity that is presented to you.  Just because an opportunity that presents itself to you is not something you had planned for or thought of yourself doing, doesn’t mean that it might not benefit you in a lot of ways.

Take a good look at the opportunity to see if it takes you out of your comfort zone and look into the benefits it may bring.  It’s a good idea to do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis on unexpected opportunities to get a fuller understanding of what is being presented to you.

Also, use your Network to see if there is someone who works in this space/area of expertise and connect with them to see what you can glean.  After listening to multiple Leader Speakers over the years who have availed of and enormously benefited career wise, from these unexpected opportunities it certainly is worthwhile checking them out.

Until next month,