Theres never been a better time to develop your leadership skills. According to Deloittes 2014 Millennial Survey, Millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025.
Think about that statistic for a moment, because the implications are huge: Within 10 years, Baby Boomers will have all but completed the handoff of leadership responsibilities to members of Generations X and Y. If youre interested in moving into management, now is the ideal time to raise your hand and take the lead.
In anticipation of this global demographic shift, many companies are developing high-potential programs to accelerate the development of their up-and-coming leaders. Deloitte, for example, has a program called NextGen, which aims to cultivate future leaders.
I turned to Monica OReilly, a principal at Deloitte & Touche LLP and Chief Talent Officer for the firms advisory practice, to learn more about NextGen and who makes a great candidate for the program.
OReilly, who is a NextGen graduate herself, explains five ways to stand out and be recognized as high-potential. Even if your company doesnt have a program like NextGen, incorporating these tips into your work life will demonstrate your abilities to the people who can take your career to the next level.
1. Deliver Superior Performance
Dont just meet expectations; exceed them. Every time. Being recognized as someone who possesses high potential starts with superior performance.
The people selected for the program demonstrate a desire to move into top leadership roles, an interest in broadening their perspective across the business, and a strong commitment to developing themselves and others, OReilly says. But in addition to that, they usually have a strong track record of performance over several years. We choose those who demonstrate higher performance in serving clients and taking care of people.
2. Cultivate a Followership
Do you have the ability to inspire others to collaborate and take action? If so, you haveor are buildinga followership. According to OReilly, if you want to be recognized for your future leadership potential, you should be able to cultivate a followership before you get there.
People will follow a talented leader, she asserts. They want to be inspired and motivated. So learn what makes people tick as well as what qualities they respect (here are a few ideas), then begin to cultivate those traits.
3. Be Boldly Self-Aware
Do you know your workplace brand? In other words, are you aware of the unique impact you make in your office and how others perceive you? If you want a management position in your future, you should.
Thats because emerging leaders must possess strong self-awareness. Understand your strengths and where you can make an impact, says OReilly. And then, be brave enough to make that impact.
If you havent yet uncovered your brand or your strengths, try taking a 360-degree feedback survey or asking a trusted manager, mentor, or colleague to describe how he or she thinks youre perceived by others. Listen for positive traits that are referenced more than once, and then aggressively seek out opportunities to apply those strengths.
4. Think Strategically
To thrive in an accelerated leadership program like NextGen, says OReilly, you must strive to think broadly and more strategically. Question how things could be done better and how to add value to the organization, no matter what role you are in, she recommends.
For example, lets say you notice a number of customers with similar complaints about your teams product. Instead of reacting to each problem as it arises, try to determine the root cause or look for ways that your team might be better able to anticipate customers needs.
5. Attract Mentors
One valuable element of a high-potential program is the opportunity to learn and network with others in your cohort. Youll develop an amazing network of impressive peers who will one day become your network of powerful business leaders.
But dont wait for the program to start to develop that group of contactsstart establishing relationships with leaders who can mentor and guide you now. When you meet a person you admire, ask if he or she would be open to having a 20-minute informational meeting with you to answer some career-related questions. If it goes well, ask if he or she would be willing to meet on a regular basis. If you get a yesyouve got a new mentor.
When you do get the opportunity to take on a leadership role or enter a leadership development program, make the most of it. If youre selected for any leadership program, embrace the experience. OReilly recommends. Dont be passive about it. Immerse yourself completely, so you can develop as a future leader.
Updated 6/19/2020Jo Miller is founding editor of Be Leaderly and CEO of Womens Leadership Coaching, Inc. Jo is the creator of the Womens Leadership Coaching® system, a roadmap for women who want to break into leadership. She has traveled in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and workshops, and counts being the only Aussie womens leadership coach in Iowa among her unique koalafications. Read more from Jo at www.beleaderly.com.More from Jo Miller