Do You Have What it Takes to Lead in the Professional World?

In every situation in life there are leaders and followers. While the leaders often take the grandest recognition, being a follower isn’t always a bad thing. Also, being a leader doesn’t always mean you’re the boss, manager or supervisor at your job. Natural born leaders have a few character traits, many of which you may have, as well. Many of these traits come naturally; however, you can also work to hone these character traits.

Lack of Ego

It may seem like common sense to assume natural leaders have large egos. This can’t be further from the truth, however. Natural leaders are able to suppress their own egos and make things work as a team. They are the best team players out there, and able to give recognition to other team members without trying to steal someone’s thunder. They are confident and able to offer ideas and support throughout projects. Some may confuse self-confidence with a large ego.


Natural leaders have an innate ability to communicate every detail, making sure everyone is on the same page. They will also use their communication skills to find out what others want and any issues going on with a project or work environment. Their communication skills also make them great listeners.

Standing Ground

Conflicts arise in everyday life, including at work. A conflict may arise with a fellow worker or with a client. Natural born leaders are able to tolerate conflict in a way that shows they won’t back down; however, they’re not often bullies during a conflict. Their ability to effectively communicate comes into effect during conflict. They won’t run from it, and they will go after what they want, but they will not snake or sneak to get it.

Transparency and Integrity

While there are stories of deceitful people making it big in the professional world, natural born leaders have unrivaled integrity. They are honest and transparent, allowing them to be fully trusted by coworkers, supervisors, clients and, well, everyone. Besides honesty, integrity also includes doing things the right way, giving credit where it’s due and owning up to mistakes.


Do you have these qualities? Are you looking to move up professionally and develop these skills to become a leader? While these traits are typically natural, there are a few you can work on to more fully develop your leadership skills. For example, many people avoid conflict, but you can stand your ground (even if it takes practice doing so). You can also work on your ability to communicate your feelings and desires in the workplace without overstepping your boundaries.

Top 6 Critical Conversations You Should Have With Your Boss

This post was originally seen on Career Rocketeer and was written by .

Communication seems to be the most under-rated, yet most critical thing we do as humans.  There are all too many things we should be discussing and communicating about, yet for some reason, we don’t.  Call it lazy, busy or reluctant; we don’t communicate enough about the right things in the most effective way.  Think of just how much better all your undertakings would be if all you did were improve this one critical capability.

In the workplace, almost all of us have a boss or someone we must be responsible to.  That means the place to focus your communication as your highest priority is the boss.  When you work well with the person in charge, chances are exceptionally high that you will like your job.  As a place to start, use this as a checklist for your communication plan with your boss:

Work or project.  You should be finding a variety of ways to keep your boss in the loop on what you are working on.  Don’t just go silent and hunker down in your office.  If you do that, you will force them to come extract information from you.  Consider sending short emails, hallway conversations or sound bites in staff meetings.  You can also consider preparing a monthly report that covers highlights, status and challenges–all the things the boss really wants to know.

Discuss problems you encounter.  Some people are reluctant to let anyone know they are encountering a problem.  Problems are why we were hired.  Consider discussing Situation-Action-Response or S-A-R.  Don’t just take a problem to the boss without offering at least one possible solution.  When you do the S-A-R approach you first outline the situation, and then outline what action you either did take or propose to take, followed by what result you expect.  This way the boss isn’t solving your problems, but is being given a “heads-up” on an issue and the opportunity to validate your approach.

Clarity.  If ever the boss gives you direction or communicates something you don’t understand or think you agree with, it’s time to seek clarity.  It only takes a few minutes to catch the boss to ask a few questions.  Keep in mind, their only ability to get their job done well is if you do; so don’t think of your questions as an interruption.

Your career goals.  Every boss wants to think they have hired real go-getters.  You can show that you are in a number of ways, and central to that is to engage your boss with your career goals.  If you discuss your goals and create development plans that mesh with both of you, you have a built-in advocate.  Your boss can’t guess what you want next; you have to let them know.

Your performance.  You need to start every new job by gaining an understanding of exactly what their expectations of you will be and how they will go about assessing you.  Once you know those details, take it upon yourself to seek ongoing feedback about how you are doing.  If you do this, you will avoid running your job off into the ditch.  If you need skill building, make your request when you have your performance discussion.

When it’s time to go.  Hopefully, you work for a boss and company where you can have open, honest discussions about things like leaving.  Many of us don’t.  If you do work in an environment where you can, let the boss know when you have reached your professional “expiration date.”  Keeping them in the loop and being a transparent professional will help their planning tremendously.  They will also respect you for doing so.

It’s not possible to over communicate with the boss or most people you work closely with.  Look for opportunities to share what’s going on with you every time you can.  You will find you work better with others when you do and you will be sought out as someone great to work with.

For more career tips and advice – FREE newsletter and eworkbook:  From Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – Your Career Change Agent from and


7 Things You’d Better Do If You Want to Get Promoted

This post was originally seen on Career Rocketeer and was written by Margaret Buj.

Henry Ford
‘Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.’

Promotions are earned because you have demonstrated that you are able to perform at the next level and not JUST because it’s your turn.

Find out seven steps to power your way to that promotion:

1. Know where you’re going.

If you want promotion you need a clear goal of where you want to be promoted to – in some companies you could be promoted to a job where you are doing the same work for more money.

Here I am talking about a promotion into a higher position with new responsibilities, therefore you need to set out a targeted plan in getting there.

2. Research the new position.

When you have targeted the job you are looking to do, the next stage is to understand what the role involves, the skill sets you already own which are suitable for the role and which skills you need to develop.

3. Create a development plan.

If you have a supportive manager, their agreement and support of your objectives is invaluable. Develop a plan based on step 2 and allow them to review it.

More often than not your line manager will have an outside perspective of your skills and make suggestions on the areas of improvement. You will then be able to go forward with your plan in greater detail.

Before you go to your boss make sure that you have thought through your actions, your reasoning behind your objectives and why your skills are suitable for the job.

4. Be proactive and develop opportunities.

Make sure your superior knows that you are available and interested in any promotions that come up. If the opportunity presents itself, demonstrate that you can take on more responsibilities by volunteering to fill in or share the workload for a person in your targeted position. This will help you to learn new skills and show your line management your potential.

5. Don’t drop the ball with your current position.

Remember you still have a job that is important to your company, taking on new duties and not performing in your day to day job does not help your position.

Be aware that without performing in a way that meets or exceeds expectations, you should not expect to gain a promotion for your work. That means that you may need to put in some additional hours to prove your worth.

6. Review your plan with feedback

A plan is only of value if you measure your development against your goals. Review this along with line management feedback to see how you are progressing.

Your performance review should show that you have mastered the work that you are currently responsible for and that you are ready to take on more responsibility.If you are not moving forward look for what is blocking your development and how can you overcome this.

7. Allow your plan to develop

Life rarely stands still, sometimes you will need to change your plan when circumstances change. Your boss may leave or the company may go through restructuring. If you are aware of this when you start, it will be easier to make the necessary adjustment.

Keep your eye on the goal and when the business changes, look at that event as an opportunity. Every change gives you a chance to solve problems and let management know just how indispensable you are.

If there is one message I would want to leave you with it’s this:

Ultimately the path to success is in your hands! GOOD LUCK!

Margaret Buj is an Interview Coach who’s helped hundreds of professionals across Europe and the US to get the jobs and promotions they really wanted. Margaret also has 8 years of experience recruiting for a variety of positions at all levels across Europe and in the US, primarily in technology and e-commerce sectors. If you want to find out how recruiters read resumes, why you are not getting hired, how to sell yourself successfully in a job interview, and how to negotiate your best salary yet, you can download her FREE “You’re HIRED!” video course.

4 Smart Strategies for Job Advancement

Smart executives know that in order to achieve job advancement, they cannot afford to take anything for granted. Performing well and bringing value is tantamount to success! However, you can be great at your job and never advance to the next level if you don’t make a conscious effort to plan for career growth. Those who decide to seek job advancement must leave nothing to chance.

To advance yourself to the next level, create a clear and concise roadmap that guides you through the process. Here are some specific strategies you will want to adopt in order to succeed:

Create Your Personal Brand

Creating a brand that is in high demand is one of the most powerful things you can do to fuel career advancement.  Once you establish the skills and characteristics that make you unique, employers will be more likely to pursue you.  To develop and implement a personal brandingstrategy, you must first assess your strengths, preferences, and differentiators. I often provide a DISC assessment as a first step in establishing a sound personal branding strategy.

Convey Your Value
Once you have a thorough picture of the image you wish to convey with your personal brand, you must continue to refine the brand and establish it as a common theme in all of your communications. You must BE your brand. Blogging, participating in discussions on social media sites, providing case studies, volunteering, and attending local networking events are all ways you can extend and grow brand recognition.

Update Your Career Documents
Smart executives recognize that part of positioning their brand includes creating outstanding career documents. A strong LinkedIn profile and the development of a professional biography can add value, and help with job advancement. It is no longer enough to have a basic résumé.  Your résumé must be polished and focused to reflect your brand image. It should include targeted and impactful wording that illustrates your most impressive accomplishments. Many executives are opting to include a multimedia VisualCV / Digital Résumé as part of their repertoire.

Public Speaking & Media Interaction
I know that people hate the thought of speaking publicly; but the more you get your face and name out in the world as a valued resource and industry expert, the more likely you are to be remembered for new and interesting opportunities. If you are quoted as a trusted resource in multiple publications, this will add clout to your brand, as well.

Most successful executives have worked hard to develop their reputation and nurture their brand value.  It is important to think about job advancement early in your career.  By planning a well-defined strategy and mapping out a specific path for growth, you will be one step ahead of the competition.

This post was written by Debra Wheatman, originally posted on Careers Done Write.

Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is President of Careers Done Write, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.