This is a 2-part answer. You may be satisfied after the first part, but I like Part 2 better myself.
Leadership positions are all around us, but they don’t necessarily fall into our laps. Speaking from my personal experience, here’s my advice:
Part 1: If you want a leadership role, follow these steps:
· Research WHERE the roles are. Inside your organization or outside? With a formal title or not? An elected position or voluntary? Once you’ve narrowed it down, then you should…
· Network with people in those circles. Learn as much as you can about the role, the responsibilities involved, how the people obtained the role, and most importantly, what you need to be considered a candidate. After that…
· (This is the hard one) – ASK for opportunities that would get you a little closer to this goal. Does the person/org need help with any projects? Are there any open volunteer opportunities? Do they need writers, bloggers, interns, graphics, social media shares? Basically, what would give you more visibility with the people who make hiring/election/appointee decisions?
· After you’ve done the above 3 steps, you’ll get a good idea real quick how badly you want this role. For some, you would continue volunteering for years because it’s something you’re so passionate about. For others, you’re willing to move on if you don’t find “success” quick enough for your timeline. This is when it’s important to talk to your mentor for guidance on career trajectory, happiness, and fulfillment.
Part 2: If you want a leadership role, look around you:
· You may not think you’re a leader, but there are eyes watching you. If you’re a new grad, your friends in college and APPE students have already put you on a career pedestal. If you’re an APPE student, there are 2nd and 3rd students admiring your ability to retain something from therapeutics 2 years ago. If you’re a 1st year student, you have already the reached the goal of so many undergrad students.
· Start displaying the leadership traits that you wish you witnessed in your leaders. You know what supportive feels like, and you know what being brushed off feels like. You don’t need to wait for a position or a role or a title to start exuding the qualities you admire in others. When you do this, you will learn more about yourself than you realize.
When you open yourself up THAT kind of learning, you’ll be surprised how many leadership opportunities find their way to you.
Until next week,