A promotion doesn't make you a leader - Deepstash
A promotion doesn't make you a leader

A promotion doesn't make you a leader

A promotion is one form of recognition, but it does not inherently make you a leader. Neither does being a manager. Or coming in early, getting facetime with the C-suite, crushing your KPIs, or having “lead” in your title.

Many “leads” do not lead and many people without the title do. While promotional milestones can signify leadership, they don’t by default.

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MORE IDEAS FROM Getting Promoted Isn’t the Same as Being a Leader

Focus outward

On a very basic level, being a leader is about your relation to other people within an organization. It’s impossible to lead while flying solo — your connection with your team defines you as a leader.

So, a surefire way to develop and demonstrate your leadership skills is to stop thinking so much about what you need to do to get to that next step, and start thinking about how you can help others reach their potential.

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The career ladder plagues nearly every type of workplace, from structured corporate environments to the nebulous world of startups.

The truth is that success is not linear, and your career path is unlikely to be either.

When you take away the pressure of climbing the ladder, you give yourself room to experiment, explore, and develop both personally and professionally. Most importantly, you open the door to leadership opportunities outside of simply getting a promotion.

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To truly step into a leadership role, you have to be willing to speak your mind, push back, and ask tough questions. If the sound of that makes your palms sweat, fear not. You don’t need to be outspoken, loud, or “pushy” to share your ideas. You just need to be willing to get a little uncomfortable, at least at first.

The best leaders ask good questions — of both themselves and others. They don’t do anything just because “it’s the way it’s always been done.” And they aren’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers to create change and move forward.

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Good leaders don’t pretend to have all the answers, and they’re not afraid to address their weaknesses. Acknowledging and revealing your blind spots does not make you unfit or inept. It makes you human and accessible. Know when you need help, and ask for it. Own up to your mistakes, promptly and publicly.

If you want to get a head start on leadership, practice vulnerability. It pairs well with confidence, self-awareness, and sincerity.

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Leadership exists in so many forms — and it doesn’t require a fancy title, a lofty pay raise, or even permission.

Don’t wait for someone to tell you when it’s time to be a leader. You have the tools you need to practice within your role right now.

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RELATED IDEA

Accidental Leaders

Thousands of professionals who excel in their current role get promoted in an organization and before they know it, they find themselves in senior and leadership roles with more responsibility, but without any support or training.

These professionals are good at their core jobs where they manage themselves or a small team. Being thrust in a leadership role where their decisions impact the whole organization can backfire for many.

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Transition into management

The process of becoming a leader is a demanding journey of continual learning and self-development.

The trials involved in becoming a first-time manager can have serious consequences. The organisation can suffer human and financial costs when an individual with strong performance and qualifications is promoted but fails to adjust successfully to management responsibilities. 

The failures are not surprising, given how difficult it is to transition. Many books describe successful leaders, but few address the challenges of learning to lead.

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Are you a leader or a boss? Intelivate simplifies the leader versus boss debate into twelve pictures that define the critical characteristics of a leader.

After working with thousands of leaders, these are the 12 greatest delineating characteristics of a leader in the leader versus boss debate. Let’s do this.

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