A competent manager knows the business or organization, the market and customers, and understands the people with whom he or she works. Becoming a competent manager is a good thing; however, stepping it up ever so slightly can result in great results for your company and you—as you become a leader who has the vision to shape the future.
I believe that leadership is a blend of a number of components. The first is curiosity. Be curious about your business—it leads to learning. Ask questions. Who are your customers? What do they want? Which areas are most profitable? How does the business work with customers? Where does my current role fit?
There are so many questions you can ask to gain knowledge about the business, customers, and the people who make it work. Recognize that asking questions is a valid pursuit in each role you play, today and in the future.
Take time to internalize and reflect. Doing so may seem contradictory in the digital age where everyone is moving along at 120 percent. There is just little or no time. Yes, we’re all moving fast today and information is exploding around us. Don’t become overwhelmed. Do research, organize information, and, most importantly, think before making a decision or committing to an action.
Establishing a support mechanism of people whose judgment you value will help. Ask questions and bounce ideas off of them. In today’s business world there isn’t time to do something twice to make it right, but there is time to make the right decision. Take it.
Look for opportunities to apply what you’ve learned. In every assignment, recognize pathways to go beyond what is simply requested to share what you’ve digested in the process. In fact, leaders will expect this of you. Be respectful but confident when expressing your perspective.
Imagination and vision form the foundation for leadership. Coupling your imagination to the knowledge you’re gaining will bring you to the point of visualizing the future for your business and career. Leaders see the future and how to get there with a roadmap in their heads. Sure there could be bumps along the way, but once you see the future, you can drive towards it, and you have a duty to share it with others. Doing so is leadership.