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'5 Resolutions for the Rising Leader' from Women's Leadership Author, Speaker and Consultant Selena Rezvani

5 Resolutions for the Rising Leader

[ Saturday, Jan 1, 2010 ]

Happy New Year!  As you think about what you want to accomplish in the year ahead, consider these 5 tips from top women leaders I've sat down with:

Be a big picture thinker: Make it a point to know your industry better than your peers. Consult industry blogs, journals, magazines and periodicals. At networking events, ask those you meet about what challenges they are facing. Make it your business to know your business!

Volunteer: Employees don’t offer to lead or help on projects nearly as much as they could. Leadership development opportunities are abundant if you just look around. Volunteering emphasizes that you are hungry to grow, eager to learn, and cooperative. Offering a hand can help fortify your work alliances, broadening the circle of people who will help you when you need a favor returned one day. In addition, you may learn new skills or gain new exposure as a result of working on a new project.

Ask for the promotion: Ask to move up the next rung in the ladder. Prepare by identifying where you have leverage as an employee and compile a case justifying why you deserve the promotion. Role-play the negotiation at least once with a colleague or friend and practice regulating your emotions. Take a win-win approach in the negotiation showing your boss how you can both stand to gain from the promotion.

Manage up: Your rapport with your boss is important because your boss can be your biggest advocate, acting as a motor that propels you--or your heaviest anchor in terms of job advancement. Show that you want to be relied upon and that you're indispensable. You can express this openly in a one-on-one meeting or annual review by saying, “I want you to feel you can rely on me, even if you are not here. What else can I be doing to help you see things that way?” The very process of expressing this to your boss will likely buy you some credibility.

Build alliances: No matter how much focus we are taught to put on our technical competence at work, our professional relationships matter just as much. Even if you have a strong relationship with your boss, most of us need even more allies to get our agendas met. Allies help eachother to accomplish their goals and realize their ideas at work. Truly good alliances are mutually beneficial, lessen politics, and last even after one person leaves the company.

Promote your successes: Where could you take credit more often? How can you take credit without being overbearing or bragging? Where credit is involved, communication is essential. You can convey your contributions by communicating with your boss, as often as weekly, to keep him or her abreast of your accomplishments.  In order to do this well, it really helps to have a ready log of your accomplishments.