The 3 Ways to Rise Up to a New Leadership Opportunity

April 2, 2014 Vince Molinaro

In my last #GutCheck blog, I shared the story of Manchester United star Wayne Rooney and what happened the first time he captained his soccer team. Rooney rose to the challenge.

Even though he had a storied football career, he didn’t rest on his laurels. Even though he had a strained relationship with the club manager, he didn’t let it get in the way of what he needed to do to help his team win. As he wore the captain’s armband, Rooney responded with one of the best games he’s ever played, scoring two goals to lead his team to victory.

So how do you step up when given an opportunity to lead?

1) Recognize that leadership is an opportunity. (click to Tweet)

I find many people who are promoted into leadership roles feel that they’ve arrived. They don’t see it as an opportunity to lead, but rather the chance to rest on one’s laurels. Some decide to coast or maintain the status quo – doing things like they’ve always been done will be enough. Any new leadership opportunity must be seen as the chance to grow, create and innovate. I love seeing leaders take on a role and do something unexpected and creative with it. So don’t squander a leadership opportunity. Use it as a platform to do something really great for your organization.

2) Identify the hallmarks of your leadership.

Look at your role and identify the things you would like to change or improve. These will become the hallmarks of your tenure as a leader. I worked with one leader who assumed a director level role. As she thought about how to take her game to the next level, she zeroed in on the need to enhance the capabilities of the people in her department. She held monthly check-ins with team members. She led regular learning sessions to transfer everything she learned to her team. Over her first year, she built a much stronger department. Everyone in the company noticed. This, in turn, enhanced her profile as a great leader.

3) Be prepared to prove yourself all over again.

True leaders earn leadership roles with a strong track record. In other words, they proved that they were worthy to lead through their performance. However, part of being a leader is proving that you have what it takes to lead each and every time you take on a new challenge. Each new opportunity will require you to show, once again, that you are the right person for the job. Don’t fear this – embrace it and use it as a dynamic tension to ensure you are doing as much as you can, every day you lead.

“Good enough never is” (click to Tweet)

Organizations today need strong leaders at all levels. There are a lot of leadership opportunities out there waiting for someone like you to step up and make a difference. Make sure you take advantage of the opportunities as you find them and you’ll see your leadership reach new heights.

Join the conversation @VinceMolinaro

About the Author

Vince Molinaro

Vince Molinaro is the Global Managing Director of Strategic Solutions at Lee Hecht Harrison. He is also the author of The Leadership Contract – a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Vince has spent more than 20 years as an adviser to boards and senior executives looking to improve leadership in their organizations.

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