By Anusha Shrivastava, Ph.D.
At first pass, it seems like the world is large. Soon enough, you realize it is shrinking at a fast pace and people are more closely connected than you had ever imagined. What this means is you have to be careful about how your professors, administrators, employers and even peers think about you.
- Are you someone who just tags along or can you be a team leader?
- What level of responsibility can you be entrusted with?
- Do you get along with your teammates?
- Can you share good ideas and follow through?
- Is your name among the first that comes to mind when a new project is being launched?
If you want people to recognize you as someone they can pick to be a leader, you will have to be proactive. This means you raise your hand every time there is a challenging opportunity and then do well at whatever is assigned.
Say the department is organizing an event, be sure to put your name forward as a volunteer. Then, come up with ideas on how to involve your classmates. Contribute towards making the event a success.
The same strategy works at the office. You’ll be seen as the go-to person once you’ve established you can successfully organize an event or work with a manager to achieve a team’s goal. You have to demonstrate that when you sign up to do something, you will. If there’s something preventing you from doing this, you need to raise your hand early and seek help.
Make sure that no one has to chase you to get the job done.
Never be on the list of people who either broke the rule or failed to carry out an assigned task. You don’t want to attract negative attention at any point. This means you have to communicate effectively and update your manager and colleagues. You may have to send out reminders and follow up with people separately.
You must also manage your time such that nothing slips through the cracks. Everyone has a long list of to-be-done items and just as you will be juggling multiple tasks, your colleagues will, too. If you are working closely with other people, you have to allow for some slippage and emergencies.
You may have to learn new skills to carry out the tasks you have volunteered to undertake. Be prepared to put in extra time for this.
As the person in charge, you must be ready to take responsibility in order to get the job done. Once you create a strong record, the reward for your good work will be tougher and better assignments. This, in turn, will help in your career growth.
Being proactive will yield results so take charge of your time and schedule. It will be well worth it.
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