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How to Become a Lead Worker in Your Team

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When your career aspirations extend beyond the rank and file, you're going to have to do more than the status quo to earn the right to call yourself a team leader. That includes demonstrating your leadership skills, as well as making it known that you intend to move up in your organization.

Volunteer for a Leadership Role

Look for opportunities within your organization to prove that you have leadership qualities. Take on work-specific activities, such as an extra project, or volunteer your services. For example, sign up to lead a team of volunteers for a local charity drive or offer to help with a workplace wellness initiative. Managers like to support employees who show entrepreneurial initiative, according to a "Time" magazine articled entitled, "How to Get Ahead at Work."

Act Like a Leader

Whether it's during your regular duties or the "extracurricular" activities outside of your regular job, think and act like a leader. Be a good listener and accept many viewpoints, and be willing to take the initiative and make a decision when things need to get done. Practice fairness, honesty and integrity. Set goals for yourself and meet them, and be willing to praise others -- as well as yourself -- when things go right. Being humble and giving credit where credit is due are among the signs of an effective leader, according to the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Indicate Your Intentions

Don't hesitate to convey your intentions to those in decision-making roles. During your employee review, tell your supervisor that you're interested in a leadership role. Use that formal review time -- or other times when you're getting face time with the boss -- to ask her how you can improve or work toward your goal. Also, consult your employee handbook to find out whether there's a prescribed path toward becoming a team leader.

Find a Sponsor

Find a mentor within your organization who can guide you through the process of ascending to a leadership role. Even better, identify a sponsor, suggests Sylvia Ann Hewlett, CEO for the Center for Talent Innovation, in the "Harvard Business Review." A sponsor not only guides you, but also advocates on your behalf and helps you get promoted. Make yourself available to higher-ups you admire; be helpful and willing to go the extra mile. When you've established a good relationship with someone, ask her to be your sponsor.


About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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