6 Career Hacks that Will Help You Stand Out as a Leader

By Miranda Marquit

From the moment you start your new job, you begin auditioning for the next job. There’s a good chance that you’ll have at least 12 jobs over the course of your lifetime — including chances for promotions at your current company.

Standing out as a leader can result in more responsibility, getting paid what you’re worth, and even prepare you for the next challenge. If you rise to the occasion at your current job, it will improve your resume and give you a chance to make an impact elsewhere.

If you’re looking for a to establish yourself as the best bet, these six career hacks will help you take it to the next level.

1. Be Prepared

No matter what you’re doing, prepare yourself. This is one of the most important career hacks. Whether you’re making a presentation or getting ready to head up your first project, preparation is vital.

It’s important to be prepared when asking for a raise, when attending a networking event, or doing just about anything. When you’re prepared, you can step up to opportunities and approach problems with calm. That preparation shows — and it sets you apart as a leader.

2. Build Relationships

I’m not talking about sucking up to the boss or being smarmy and fake. Being a leader is all about healthy professional relationships. Build relationships with your coworkers, people in other departments, the higher-ups, and even with people in other companies.

Attend networking events and conferences. Learn how to connect with others and inspire them. As you build your network and relationships, you’ll be viewed as a leader and more likely to be hired for the next job or given the promotion.

3. Sit Down at the Table

Literally. This is one of the simplest career hacks. If there’s a table in a meeting room, snag a seat there, instead of along the wall. Being at the table subtly indicates that you’re a decision maker. Plus, you’re more likely to be seen and heard when you’re at the table.

Prepare before meetings so you’re ready to speak if you need to. No matter what you’re doing, whether it’s taking notes or listening to a presentation, be visible at the table. People will get used to thinking of you there.

4. Stay Calm

When you understand priorities, you can stay calm. And that projects leadership. Just because someone thinks something is urgent, it doesn’t mean it’s an emergency. One of the best career hacks is to know what’s important. Then keep your cool.

Staying calm lets you project an aura of being in charge. Plus, if you’ve got a cool head for decisions, that further emphasizes your ability to lead.

5. Ask Forgiveness, Not Permission

When we have new ideas or a different approach to a problem, it might be tempting to ask permission before moving forward. However, that leaves you open to missed opportunities. If your company doesn’t forbid something, and it’s not ethically problematic, go ahead and try your approach without getting permission.

If you come up with a creative solution and it’s not draining company resources or against priorities, your initiative can be seen as a leadership quality. Being able to spot and address something without needing to be directed in every little thing is an essential leadership characteristic.

And chances are that you won’t even have to ask forgiveness.

6. Get in and Do the Work

It doesn’t seem like it belongs on a list of career hacks, but this one is important. True leaders aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. They know that sometimes they need to be in the thick of it. Coworkers and people on your team will respect you if they know they can count on you.

Along with this, don’t be afraid to ask for help and guidance. If you can find a mentor, this will point you out as someone who wants to learn. The ability to learn and adapt is essential for any leader.

Setting Yourself Up as a Leader

If you use these career hacks, you won’t need to go around telling people you’re a leader. Instead, people will just know it.

As a leader, your job is to help people feel as though they can do their jobs well. Be calm and prepared, and people will feel safe. Show you care and build relationships, and fellow workers will look to you for inspiration. Sit down at the table and move forward with good solutions, and people will assume you belong.

Plus, as a leader, you can even strike out on your own if you want. Develop leadership qualities and then start your own business.

It’s not always easy to be a leader. But you can do it. And it will enrich your career along the way.