Where do I start? A great question! I strongly believe that there are four key skills that will help you step up into a leadership role faster than would otherwise be the case.
The first of these is the power of Networking. It is simply not enough to be good. People must know you are good.
The second skill is Public Speaking. It doesn't have to be as a keynote address, but being memorable in a positive way every time you make a presentation adds a lot to your credibility. Don't believe me? What good are good ideas if you can't convey them to others?
The third skill set is Negotiation. If you think about all of the transactions of your daily life, whether it is being compensated for the work you do, hiring someone to do some work for you or buying goods and services - negotiation gives you the opportunity to create win-win scenarios saving time, money and effort for both parties. It is that critical.
Finally, the fourth skill I suggest to people is to become good at selling. This isn't just about selling stuff. It is about selling ideas, concepts, projects and becoming ever more valuable to both your organization and your clients. Learning about the sales process and how to connect solutions to needs and desires is hugely important.
Of course, I also recommend that you don't shoot yourself in the foot by failing to recognise one of these top five Career Killers. Also make sure you understand business culture and follow the established rules for Business Etiquette.
If you are already pretty accomplished in these areas - then there are some other things you can do to also accelerate your career success.
First of all, learn to Stand Out. We all want to believe in a meritocracy, where people who do good work get recognised but the truth is, many leaders are blind to strong, silent performers. Being able to stand out from the rest of the crowd, is critical in terms of being recognised and thought about when the next big opportunity comes around.
It is also important for you to Take The Initiative for the same reason. Even though it may seem like extra work, it will get you attention and cause you to be noticed in a way that otherwise would not be the case.
You may also have heard that Golfing with the Boss is a great way to get ahead in your career. This can definitely work if it is managed correctly but it can be disastrous if it isn't.
Another interesting space to look into is that of entrepreneurialism. Sometimes if you have a strong value of independence, autonomy and are action oriented, becoming an entrepreneur can create an extraordinarily satisfying life and lifestyle.
I have a number of thoughts on that particular topic based on my own experience and that of many clients. You can check out a few of the self tests here: Entrepreneurship and three things to watch out for: Three Things
Finally, one of the most overlooked elements of any career management process is the need to have business acumen. A lot of people are not clear on what business acumen actually means so I have prepared a primer for you here.
A client of mine once told me that he didn't believe in the concept of work life balance. He preferred the idea of work-life integration posing the argument that you should be able to show up as you are in both roles and enjoy them both for what they offer. Of course in this case he meant work and non-work integration. After all, it is all "life". For some additional thoughts on work life balance, click here.
Another key area of career and life is the important role that our relationships play in defining our success and indeed our happiness. This page talks a bit more about the importance of relationships.
Another key contributor to overall career and life leadership success has to do with the making and management of money. Of course money is often seen as the "root of all evil" but I suggest that it is greed that is far more evil than money. Money is just a means to influence a change. It is critically important of course and ideally, you become an astute manager of your money and finances...and not the other way around. Here are some Money Tips for young people.
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