Are you wondering if someone is ever going to tap you on the shoulder to start leading at a higher level in your organization? Maybe it’s that new project at the office or the next major job for your department? Stop waiting for someone to ask for your help, start leading today. Too many leaders lay in waiting for someone to tap them on the shoulder, but growing leaders are quick to offer assistance. Consider this your shoulder tap, stop waiting and start leading today.
Growing leaders see problems as opportunities and desire to help offer solutions to obstacles before ever being asked. If your manager or department leader hasn’t tapped you on the shoulder yet, it doesn’t mean they don’t think you can lead. Trust me.
Here are three ways to grow as a leader in your church or business:
1. Write Down Your Ideas
The ideas in your head are only ideas until you write them down. Write down everything that comes to mind and flesh them out as much as possible. Remember to start with the original project in mind so that your end result is a helpful concept. Keep writing until there is nothing left and then edit your thoughts carefully. Review and clarify your notes, consider if you have any truly valuable ideas. Don’t be surprised if after writing all your thoughts down, you realize that you have nothing valuable to offer, it happens. More often than not, you’ll discover one or two major solutions that could help your team. Develop your ideas into measurable action steps with clear targets. Take the additional effort to craft a draft an outline, budget or timeline to implement the concepts you plan on presenting to your boss. If time allows, share your thoughts with a coworker for constructive feedback or additional ideas before you make your presentation. Once you have your final thoughts ready, take the next step and set up a meeting with your supervisor.
2. Schedule a Meeting
Now that you’ve got those helpful ideas clearly defined, schedule a brief meeting with your director. In your request for a meeting, make sure you explicitly tell them why you want to meet and what you would like to discuss. Let them know what you’ve been thinking about and that you might have some ideas that could help. Leaders are not looking for more meetings, but every leader is looking to hear from someone with initiative and drive to help strengthen the organization. Put all your cards on the table in the meeting and ask more questions. The quality of questions will reveal the depth of your understanding around the project. A simple rule to keep in mind is this – ask more questions and make fewer statements. Remember, you don’t know everything your leader knows about the issues at hand. It is your job to share ideas, explore possible solutions, and trust your leadership to make the best decision possible. Once you have shared your thoughts, take it one step further.
3. Offer to Help
Close the meeting by offering to assist, but be prepared to help in a different way than you suggested. Your willingness to think critically and provide assistance will reveal your heart to serve. Remember, your leader knows variables about the project that are beyond your scope of knowledge, and that’s okay. Of course, they may need time to process your concepts, or worse; they may reject every idea you presented but don’t take that response personally. As a growing leader, it’s your job to seek ways to offer help and to develop your critical thinking skills. It’s not your job to make every decision in your organization, but it’s your responsibility to offer assistance where you think you can help.
Don’t wait to be shoulder-tapped, start growing as a leader today. Develop your critical thinking skills, learn to ask great questions, and don’t be afraid to offer your assistance. Your ideas just might change the trajectory of the entire project or your seat on the bus.
“Everything rises and falls on leadership.” John C. Maxwell