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For Beginners: 23 Steps On How To Become A Leader At Work By Chinedu George Nnawetanma

September 11, 2014

Becoming a leader takes most people several years to achieve. However, it is still possible to shorten the time frame between your period of entry as a novice into an organization and the time when you eventually climb into a leadership position. Here are some of the ways to get it done.

It is the dream of many to become leaders. Everyone basically wants to be in a leadership position.


For the greenhorn, newbie, beginner and rookie employee in a corporate environment with no clue on how things are done in business settings, becoming a leader looks like an arduous task. Indeed it is every bit as daunting. Becoming a leader takes most people several years to achieve. However, it is still possible to shorten the time frame between your period of entry as a novice into an organization and the time when you eventually climb into a leadership position. Here are some of the ways to get it done.

The Basics

1. Be passionate about your job: For leaders and aspiring leaders alike, passion is the first among all qualities. You cannot possibly excel at something you have zero passion for. Build passion for your job by getting to understand it and immersing yourself totally in it.

2. Set yourself a target:Make it a habit to set yourself targets of what you aim to achieve over (1) a short period of time and (2) a long period of time. Long term goals and short term goals ensure that you stay focused, challenge yourself and work towards achieving something within a predefined period of time.

3. Plan before you jump into a task: Proper planning makes for perfect, easier execution. Set a road map for completing your tasks before you jump in. Start by brainstorming, gathering ideas and arranging them. Then you can write them down and work with it.

4. Don’t wait until the last minute to commence work on your tasks: Be it an assignment, a personal target or a business target, delay is disastrous in the ruthless, highly competitive business world.

5. Get it done before the deadline: Tasks and assignments are done within a time limit. Complete your task well before the target time. This gives you enough time to review your work and make amendments where necessary.

6. Be creative: Explore the world around you. Don't limit yourself to what you already know and what you can already do. Find new, better, more efficient ways of doing things.

7. Challenge yourself: Push yourself harder than you have done in the past, but don't forget to know when to apply the breaks. Never run away from challenges. Leaders are born and made to take on challenges.

8. Multitask: Learn to multitask. Gone are the days of the "monospecialist". These days, what businesses look out for are exceptional talents who are good in not just one, but many areas. Flexibility is the keyword.

9. Be a master at something: While you multitask, don't forget to be an expert at something. Multitasking is not reason enough for you to be an average Joe in everything. Stand above the crowd in at least one aspect. Business consultant Greg Mckeown couldn't have put it better in his LinkedIn article​

"Being able to do many things is important in many jobs today. Broad understanding also is a must. But developing greater discernment about what is distinctive about us can be a great advantage. Instead of simply doing more things we need to find, at every phase in our careers, our highest point of contribution."

10. Never let others take credit for your (hard) work: Failing this rule means that you'll never get to be appreciated. If you do something great and nobody gets to know about it or someone else takes credit for it, you will never get the recognition you deserve.

11. Anticipate problems: Good leaders are visionary and they anticipate problems before they occur. Anticipating and preparing for possible problems does not mean praying for them. It means equipping yourself with the right tools to overcome challenges that may popup in the future.

The Rest:

12. Respect your boss: Reassure him/her that they are the boss by your actions and words. Do not challenge them, though you are always free to make your own input or make suggestions.

13. Understand the workplace culture: Get familiar with the do's and don’ts of your company. Know its motto, goals, vision and mission by heart. If your goals and vision do not align with that of the organization, quit and look elsewhere. Never do the reverse: aligning your goals and vision with that of the organization.

14. Assist colleagues in need: Everyone appreciates a helping hand. Show some love.

15. Complain when necessary: Don't be scared to air your grievances. When done appropriately, nobody will penalize you for it. Bosses actually like employees who are outspoken in a polite way.

16. Mix up: Be fun to be with while not also forgetting to be yourself. Socialize and make friends with your coworkers, bosses and clients.

17. Avoid conflict: Get to know your colleagues and bosses well and find out what really puts them off. When a colleague or boss becomes too provocative, report him or her to an appropriate authority.

18. Be nice and polite: To colleagues, clients, superiors, everyone.

19. Improve and furnish your CV with more qualifications: Make your resume more intimidating. Don't stop at a Bachelor's degree or a higher national diploma. Go for your master's, doctorate, professional certification and the rest.

20. Monitor the trends: Stay ahead by knowing your industry's "in-things".

And Finally:

21.Exude confidence: Be self-assured and be seen as such. Charisma is inseparably linked to self-confidence and being charismatic is a sure-fire way to quickly get into a leadership position.

22. Others should look up to you: Make that possible by showing compassion, having a positive mindset, learning to be resilient, picking yourself up when you fail and doing everything that has been said so far.

23. Be patient: The results may not come instantaneously. When they don't, don't give up. Everything will fall into place at the right time.

Chinedu George Nnawetanma looks forward to your responses below and via his email address: [email protected]