Developing Your Leadership Skills

If you want to advance within your company, it’s likely that you will have to take on a leadership role. But to secure such a position, you might feel you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place: It’s difficult to acquire leadership experience until you take on a leadership role, but you need that experience to qualify for the position.

In reality, there are many opportunities to develop your leadership skills, both within your organization and externally. You just need to know where to look.

Keep learning. Taking classes and seminars through professional associations or local universities can enhance your leadership abilities. These courses don’t have to be IT-related, especially since soft skills, not technical abilities, often are most important to a new manager’s success. Consider subject areas such as project management, written communication or public speaking. And if your annual performance review includes a 360-degree review, you can learn about the areas that require improvement, and use that information to target particular classes to take.

Be sure to inform your boss of any professional development activities you are pursuing. You may receive financial assistance from the company for your studies, and your supervisor might allow you flexibility to attend classes or know of internal classes that could be helpful. Your efforts also will prove you’re serious about doing more.

Increase your involvement. Instead of simply doing what’s assigned to you, volunteer for new tasks. Doing so demonstrates your willingness to broaden the scope of your position and…


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