Leadership Role: How to Gain Experience for It Without Being In One

September 30, 2022


There are ways to gain experience for a leadership role before you're even in one!
There are ways to gain experience for a leadership role before you're even in one!

If you’re looking to advance your career, moving into a leadership role is often an attractive and attainable goal. But making that move is often easier said than done. Companies usually prefer to give leadership roles to people with leadership experience. This makes it hard for applicants to break into leadership positions without the prerequisite experience. At the same, it can be difficult to gain the necessary experience because of the minimal roles available.

Luckily, there are ways to gain and demonstrate leadership experience without being in a leadership role at work. Here are some of the best ways to grow your professional leadership skills before earning a leadership role.

Professional Leadership Skills

Mentor Newer Colleagues

You don’t need to be in an official leadership role to act as a leader. New workers often need and appreciate having an experienced colleague who can take them under their wing. This is especially true if you have experience and are trusted by management. Acting as a mentor to new workers is a great way to gain leadership experience. 

Working with a new employee helps you develop leadership skills, and also demonstrates your capabilities to your managers. Even if you don’t have an official leadership title, you are indicating that you have the ability to lead.

Manage Projects

Taking on the role of project manager can be one of the best ways to gain leadership experience. Many managers will be happy to delegate projects to trusted workers when they can. If you are comfortable, consider volunteering to take the lead on projects at work. You can start small if you prefer, and then work your way up to bigger projects. This experience will be invaluable, and is a great way to show your managers what you’re capable of. 

If you do take on a project manager’s role, you may consider some tips on managing colleagues as well.

Be Innovative

Leadership roles often require a bit of creativity and strong problem-solving skills. You can practice for those roles by searching for innovative solutions in your workplace. It can be difficult to communicate this on a resume or CV. However, it will prove good practice for future leadership roles.

Be a Leader in the Workplace

There is a fine line between being a leader in the workplace and being overbearing. But if you can find the right balance, there is great value in occupying an unofficial leadership position among your team. 

This often means developing strong interpersonal skills. Conflict resolution and motivation are important skills to focus on when trying to develop your leadership skills. Even without an official title, you will gain experiences that you can draw upon in interviews or in future roles.

Identify Leadership Role Models

If you want to develop your leadership skills, one thing you must do is identify leadership role models. What figures in your professional and personal life have demonstrated admirable leadership qualities? You can learn a lot by studying the different ways that leaders in your life get results from their teams. You might even consider asking them for advice, guidance, or mentorship.

This gives you a model to aspire toward and helps you focus on the best leadership styles for your personality. While having leadership role models is important, you will ultimately need to develop your own unique leadership skills and strategies.

If you found this article helpful, consider checking out more helpful professional resources from ASAP. We are committed to helping administrative professionals excel in their careers and grow as professionals. Whether you want to move into a leadership role or grow in your current position, ASAP has the tools to help.

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