As promised, I have some recommendations based on my experience as to how can you take action when you aren’t in a position of leadership to effect change within your organization. They are simple, yet effective.
1. Get involved! Sign up for committees, volunteer and take action. Weather it’s a company sponsored community service project, special event committee or special project, get your name out there and show everyone what you have to offer. Good leaders will recognize your commitment to the company and they will be watching and paying attention, even if you think they are not. Bring the best you have to offer to everything you do.
2. Speak up! Good companies ask for feedback. Don’t be the person who doesn’t express her opinion. Be tactful, yet honest. Great companies will appreciate your input just as much as they appreciate your output.
3. Always be prepared! It’s not just a motto, it’s a path to success these days. If you are not prepared you will never be in charge or influence change. Executives are always looking ahead to promote good employees. Unforeseen challenges are an opportunity to show that you have what it takes to lead, especially in difficult situations.
4. Stay informed! You need to know what is going on at your company. Did your company pick up a new management contract or break ground on a new construction project? You should know. You might be called upon to help out in some way and if you don’t know it shows that you are in your own world and not looking at the big picture. Looking past your own job is an inherent trait to a future leader or person of influence at any organization. You should probably keep up on the industry too. www.naahq.org and www.nmhc.org are two excellent resources.
5. Ask questions! This shows you are engaged in your job and have a vested interest in your company. Great leaders will recognize your interest as an asset to the company. Let’s face it, people who don’t ask questions probably aren’t paying attention.
6. Educate yourself! He who holds the knowledge, has the power. Take classes, get designations, volunteer to speak at local, regional and national events. Once your supervisors see you are seeking and retaining knowledge, they may ask you to educate your co-workers.
If you are interested in learning more about how to influence change or take action when you aren’t officially in a position to do so then read this book. Getting Things Done When You Are Not In Charge, by Geoffrey M. Bellman.