8 Ways Millennials Can Build Leadership Skills
By Laura McMullen
Learn to lead by observing, studying and putting yourself out there.
So ‘leader’ isn’t in your job title.
No one is asking you to manage a team or take charge of a multimillion-dollar project. So what? Even young, green employees can boost their leadership skills by learning from others and volunteering for small-scale assignments. And they should learn to lead now, given that 73 percent of the nearly 800 participants in The Hartford 2014 Millennial Leadership Survey said they aspire to be leaders in the next five years. Continue for eight expert-approved ways young people can learn to lead.
Observe and learn.
“Be consciously aware, and intentionally observe what other leaders are doing that’s working or what they’re doing that’s not working,” says Kevin Eikenberry, co-author of “From Bud to Boss: Secrets to a Successful Transition to Remarkable Leadership” and chief potential officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a leadership consulting company. Note how leaders in your office present their ideas, influence people and communicate. Think outside your workplace, too. “We can put the leadership filter on our life experiences,” Eikenberry says. Observe the leadership styles of coaches (professional or peewee), CEOs, religious leaders and politicians.
Find a mentor.
Ask that leader you observed to be your mentor – or if she simply has 30 minutes for you to buy her coffee and pick her brain. When you meet, ask direct questions and listen, says Lindsey Pollak, author of “Becoming the Boss” and The Hartford’s millennial workplace expert. “There are reasons why people have risen up the ladder,” she points out, adding that their decades’ worth of wisdom is invaluable.
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