Here at Beyond The U, we know getting the job is the hardest part, but then keeping the job and advancing is an equally challenging prospect. Why not start building the skills of a highly effective leader early by practicing right now!
Officevibe.com shares these 10 characteristics of highly effective leadership:
- Laser Focus: Highly effective leaders know how to stay on task. They set a goal, lay out the steps to reach that goal, and they stay focused until the job is done. As an undergrad, you can take on projects outside the classroom, co-curricular or job-related, and be sure you make an impact with your laser focus, and then ask that supervisor or colleague if they are willing to recommend you at a later date.
- Hire Slow/Fire Fast: As an undergrad, you may not be in a position to hire and fire, but what you can do is demonstrate careful thinking and planning and decisive decision-making. This is the same skill needed for later hiring/firing, and it is a skill that will be steadfast in communicating your responsibility and maturity.
- Never Stop Learning: This is most important in your desired or given field – always read, read, read to stay on top of industry concerns and innovations. However, it is best to be well-read across the board, period. The more you know about what is happening in the world, the better versed you will be in any conversation. Being able to interact with others and to show an understanding of the world at large will help you successfully network and to gain respect.
- Embrace Failure: As the old saying goes, “failure breeds success.” You learn from your mistakes and can grow better in your job. Always embrace failure as a step to improvement. Never see it as an end-game.
- Help Others Develop: Always mentor others. Not only can you learn a lot from mentoring someone – for instance, how to hone skills – but you will develop trusting relationships and when you move up, you will have colleagues who are willing to support you.
- Solicit Feedback: Always check in to see how you are doing. Where can you improve? Say thank you for the feedback and then implement suggestions, so it is obvious you have actively listened and appreciated the feedback.
- Be Humble: Be confident, but not boastful. Accept compliments graciously, but never brag.
- Communicate Clearly: Make clear where you are headed and what expectations are. Know what the goal is and clearly outline how to get there. Transparency avoids any confusion and assumption.
- Actively Listen: You don’t have to agree, but you do need to listen and to acknowledge what you are hearing. This builds respect and trust, and often, you learn something you may not have realized.
- Do Not Blame: It is never productive to look for someone to blame. It is best just to acknowledge something needs to be changed or to be fixed, what needs to be done, and then set a plan to do it. Remember the water has gone “under the bridge,” and it’s time to look for positive growth forward.
All 10 of these skills can be practiced and built throughout your undergraduate years, so you are fully prepared to enter your first job knowing what your focus should be.