Even before you have the experience or earn the title, your leadership potential can be recognized at a young age. And if your peers can recognize your leadership qualities early on, you’ll be first up for that promotion or project lead. AFWA’s LEAP Advisory Council has offered three tips to help you be seen as a leader at a young age.
- Speak up! It’s easy to allow yourself to be a quiet listener during work conversations, but break the mold! You may be the youngest employee in the room and less experienced than your peers, but your opinions and ideas are just as valuable. Afterall, you were hired, or even invited to that meeting for a reason – to contribute. Learning to confidently voice your opinion and to ask thought-provoking questions will help you gain recognition among your colleagues.
- Prove it! Although you’ve yet to be assigned a leadership role within your company, you can prove your emergent leadership qualities by getting involved with external groups (ahem, like AFWA). Networking groups and community organizations are often looking for volunteers to lead projects and committees. Not only will these volunteer roles allow you to prove to your employer that you’re a capable leader, but they’ll also allow you to practice and hone your leadership skills in a safe, supportive environment.
- Be Present! No matter your age, being present in a meeting, conversation, or work outing, will help you gain traction as a leader. And remember, being physically present is one thing, but being mentally present is another. Leave your phone at your desk, close your laptop, and remove distractions to give your colleagues your full attention. Be present in the moment and keep your focus and attention on the project at hand.
Whether you’re going for that promotion now or not, demonstrating leadership qualities early on will set you up for long term career success. Practice these three simple tips now and your’re sure to be seen as a leader… even at a young age.