October 25, 2017: Stretching Your Current Job Into Leadership

2016-2017 Issue 1

IMG_3981In our previous articles, we highlighted the importance of defining your career destination and determining the corresponding key skills that will make you a credible candidate for that role. We then put the spotlight on some concrete initiatives to develop and demonstrate how well you can wear those hats within, not outside of, your current job. And after recommending that you go above-and-beyond to sharpen your story-telling, forecasting, benchmarking, and negotiation abilities, let’s dig into leadership.

Leadership as a Skill, not a Title

Are you eyeing a Project Management career, an Advocacy role, or a Human Resources / Organizational Development vocation? Does your current function limit you to administrative support, client service or coordinating duties? There are ways for you to showcase your leadership potential without changing job titles – or rather, in order to position yourself to change it!

Surely in your communications with various stakeholders, you have noted common challenges across different departments, institutions, maybe even jurisdictions. Why don’t you become their unified voice? Draft a survey to poll them about their experiences and initiate a discussion with management on their behalf.

Do you note limited staff bonding opportunities within your organization and you think it might negatively affect its retention rate? Propose a buddy or mentorship program for all employees for smoother onboarding and a greater sense of belonging, especially if you work in a large, complex structure.

Do you observe frustrating processes with obsolete milestones and needlessly manual tasks? Do you know of a technical solution that would eliminate this? Take the initiative to briefly document each step of the current process, quantify time and potential resources wasted – including opportunity costs – and provide at least 2 or 3 automated alternatives or software solutions. Automating or otherwise optimizing a process will not always be received with excitement – at least not at first – but you will certainly position yourself as committed to the business’s success.

In all cases, put together a well-informed and well-balanced business case, elaborate at least a bird’s-eye-view project plan, establish a budget and accountability framework, and make it happen. Absolutely make sure your initiative does not stay at the “idea” or planning stage – carry it through to implementation. Projects have a way of fizzling out after the enthusiasm of the visionary stage, and if you wish to be credible as a PM or any related kind of organizational lead, you want to be labelled a doer. Stretching your current role for an optimal impact on the bottom line will go a long way to positioning you for advancement, all the while ensuring your own personal growth and fulfillment on the way there.

Connect with Maia and McGill’s School of Continuing Studies on LinkedIn.

This article was originally published in French in 24heures Montreal.

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