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How to Create Your Own Leadership Opportunities

Bonny Calfy | November 22, 2016

Sometimes, the hardest part about seeking out a new opportunity is getting the courage to just go for it. Personal and professional development is a top priority for employees, but how often are employees taking advantage of alternate resources? John Maxwell’s 360 Degree Leadership is all about leading from anywhere in the organization regardless of your position. Creating your own leadership opportunities is all about seeking out new ways to better yourself personally and professionally – but where do you start?

  • Look for training opportunities at your company and online.

Most companies have a training program that will offer a wide variety of online and in-person trainings for its employees. Look for the training calendar, or even talk to the training team. Typically, they have the inside scoop on the best classes and upcoming opportunities.

At some companies, employees are given the tools to succeed from the start. New-employee trainings will give “newbies” industry knowledge to better their understanding and open the doors for continued learning.

If you work for a smaller company, online resources and local technical schools offer training opportunities. Learning new skills or brushing up on old ones is a great way to boost your confidence.

  • Take time for daily learning.

While you may feel busy, there are multiple ways to commit to lifelong learning. Pick up a book; any book! Find something to stimulate your mind for 30 minutes, even if you just start a few times a week. There are great non-fiction bestsellers, biographies for sports lovers and leadership development books to get your mind working on something other than the TV.

If you’re more of an auditory learner, you can always find an audiobook for your commute or find a podcast you like; there are over 250,000 to choose from! Podcasts give you the ability to choose your own adventure – with everything from industry leaders imparting business knowledge, to short motivational episodes that can inspire ideas and brighten your day.

  • Find a Mentor.

A mentor is invaluable during leadership development. Companies often have a program to match you; or, maybe you have someone in mind that you can ask. Either way, keep in mind that while starting the conversation can be awkward, your mentor will be flattered and excited to help you develop yourself. Once you have a mentor, it’s up to you to drive the mentorship. Creating a consistent schedule to meet, having clear goals and knowing the purpose behind your partnership are the most important things to remember. Your mentor can provide advice, offer exercises to help you improve or develop a skill set, and even just be there when you need a pep talk.

Creating the opportunities for yourself are so important to leadership development. As you begin, you may want to set goals and track your progress. Having an accountability partner, or working with your mentor to reach those goals is a great way to stay consistent. Just don’t overwhelm yourself! There is no set timeline to becoming a great leader and taking on too much can cause burn out. John Maxwell said it best: Growing into an effective leader takes time and a lifelong commitment to learning. Following these tips can help you get started.

About the author
Author picture, Bonny Calfy
Bonny Calfy
As Paycom’s recruitment marketer team lead, Bonny Calfy writes about such topics as human capital management, company culture, talent acquisition and career advice. Her brand-awareness efforts at Paycom have included launching Paycom Careers’ blog and social media channels, and producing several recruiting videos, all to help attract top talent nationwide. Outside of work, Bonny enjoys reading, fishing and spending time with her son and husband.