The motivation to become a leader in your field can come at any stage in your career. Perhaps you are just starting out and have a clear vision of where you want to progress to in your role; or maybe your own leader has approached you out of the blue with an opportunity. If you are ambitious and know that leadership is a goal for your future, it would be good to be able to answer the question – what is it about being a leader that’s important to you? Are you keen to inspire others, pass on your own experiences, or help a team achieve something great together? The right motivation will ensure that when things get tough, and they most likely will, that you will want to remain in your leadership role. The desire to be a good leader, and to succeed in a new, more accountable role is a powerful motivator and a key part of deciding if you are ready to lead others.
Aspiration alone will not get you there; if you have the drive and ambition to be in a position of leadership, you also need to be well prepared. And, a bit like getting physically fit, being leadership ready is a life-long project that takes regular attention and a good level of dedication. You may want to consider seeking out a mentor to help you to assess any areas you are lacking in, and to help you to work on developing them. Look inside and outside the organisation. Find someone that inspires you or that you admire for their leadership qualities and talk with them about their leadership journey and those qualities, then model their good behaviours. Working with an executive coach will also help you explore what will make you the best leader and what might get in your way. Let your manager or HR team know that you have the desire to grow into a leadership role. You will most likely find them excited by your proactivity and that you are committed to staying with the firm and growing into a position of increased responsibility.
As well as working with leaders in closer proximity, seeking out wisdom around the subject of leadership will be a great way to prepare yourself to lead. Immersing yourself in articles, seminars and books will help you to explore great leadership in all its facets and learn techniques that can help you get ready to be a leader. Taking the initiative and gaining leadership experience in small ways can help you to test if you are ready to lead. From taking the lead on smaller projects, or in groups outside of work, you can gain an appreciation of what it is like to be a leader, and whether you are prepared enough for the role and for the responsibilities of the role.
The key thing to remember, is that there is no test to check if you are ready to be a leader, and many coaches would say that no one is ever really the finished article. If you want it, and have prepared as much as you can, and you recognise that you will be continually learning and growing once you’ve become a leader, then that is as ready as you can be.
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