By Diane Dunton
Recruiters often seek leaders for positions or seek applicants who have demonstrated leadership. Leadership can be demonstrated in a number of different ways, but what is leadership and how can you improve your leadership skills and attributes?
When I first meet a new client, I ask them to share their autobiography with me. As I listen to their story, I listen to their abilities and when they have demonstrated different skills, one being leadership. Many times, individuals do not even see their leadership skills or attributes. They are too close to their experience to see it as leadership.
Uncovering Your Leadership Skills
The first is to reflect on your experiences. Draw a timeline with professional experiences above the line and personal experiences below the line. Starting at graduation from high school (some people may need to include high school), chart the roles you have played over the years. As you reflect on the roles, several may include leadership on a committee at work, with a church group, on a non-profit board, or with a sports community.
As you look at the roles, ask yourself "What was required of me?"
Skills for leaders include:
- Creating a vision
- Rallying others around the vision and goals
- Making tough decisions
- Being willing to change course, if necessary
- Belief in what you are trying to achieve
When did you demonstrate some or all of these skills and attributes?
Questions to Ask Yourself
After reflecting on your own experiences, what did you learn about yourself and what can you teach others? Leaders can tell others in a compelling way about their successes and failures.
What gaps do you have in your experiences? Where can you grow? Everyone has an opportunity to show leadership at some time during their personal or professional life. During a time of unemployment, assess your leadership skills, attributes and experiences and determine what you might do during this time to enhance your skills.
Discover Ways to Grow
Seek new opportunities to grow as a leader. Practice personal leadership by creating your own vision,setting goals, gathering support and celebrating small successes along the way. Seek roles where you can learn from others such as joining a committee in your town, volunteering for a community event or assisting with a non-profit by being on a board.
These opportunities will position you to share confidently with recruiters who you are as a leader.