Hello SOTGC Community,
Welcome to the “How to Define Yourself as a Leader” saga. During the next few months we’ll be listing out some key steps to take when starting down the path of professional development to get that promotion you want. Some of them are what I myself did, and some are tips from executive leaders, from many industries, that I interviewed. This saga will share the feedback I got and delve into how to apply them in your everyday work life.
Below are the previous posts in this saga:
Today’s Topic: Eyes Are Always on You
In an interview I did with Suzanne Foster, Global General Manager for Medtronic Advanced Energy, on how to “work like you don’t need the job,” I asked her for advice young people could get on how to get to a point where they DON’T need the job. She said to think about the future in every decision you make. From school, to the degree(s) you obtain, to roles you take and decisions you make. Define, from an early age, what your BIG picture goals are, and work towards them.
One thing young professionals forget when they are just starting in their career (I myself am guilty of this and had to rework my peers’ perception) is that, at all times, eyes are on you. Upper-level management is always watching young professionals who, from an early age, show very high potential. They want to know if you show signs of being a company leader and should be put on the fast-track for promotion. Or, if you’re a bit of a “wild card” and should be contained but kept due to your talent.
I fell in the later of the two categories, and if I could change anything, it would be the way I acted at company meetings and on conference calls. I wasn’t the party animal, but I also had NO hesitation about loudly verbalizing my negative feedback to an initiative or task if I didn’t agree with it. What would I do differently? I’d keep that feedback and those opinions to private, one-on-one discussions with the management and work towards a solution for the concerns I had, instead of spreading a negative energy about a company initiative.
This is something that you can easily change if you’re willing to take accountability and do the work. It involves:
1. Listening more and thinking carefully before speaking
2. Encouraging group participation instead of being a “one person show” in meetings and on calls
3. Involving yourself in activities that interest you, further your goals, and are professional and appropriate
4. Removing yourself from situations where no good can come of them (such as going to late-night bar or club outings at company meetings).
Next Topic: 5 Words or Phrases Your Leadership Team Should Describe You As