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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.

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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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