While new employees are usually not seen as leaders, young employees can still develop leadership skills. Employees who have just started at a company have not yet earned the respect of their peers. Older employees tend to believe that younger workers are arrogant, and see their attempts to lead as disrespectful. It is important for young employees to take on tasks while acting respectfully, to be able to develop their skills.
Often, lack of confidence is what holds young leaders back the most. It can be difficult to show leadership skills early on. A young leader must balance confidence with respect. Leading does not mean taking on every task, but instead, it means working well with coworkers to reach the goal.
Forbes author Jacquelyn Smith offers ten steps to become a more effective young leader:
- Prepare beforehand. Volunteer for charities or take on leadership roles in clubs and organizations. These are great opportunities to improve and exercise leadership skills with lower risk.
- Do research. Read books and articles or take a class to gain further knowledge about leadership strategies.
- Learn the culture of the business. Listen to and watch your colleagues’ approach to completing projects. Learn what results your manager expects from you. If something is unclear, do not be afraid to ask a supervisor.
- Keep learning. Come to work every day curious and excited to learn more. Do not be discouraged if at first it seems overwhelming. Try to learn more each day.
- Help out where possible. Volunteer to help out in areas where older employees have difficulty or are unfamiliar, such as social media.
- Be willing to help. Come to work ready to help out anybody in any way possible. Ask to participate in challenging tasks to gain experience and skills.
- Follow the rules. Do not take on more than is possible to complete on time. If you miss deadlines, no one will remember that you had taken on extra work. Young employees must push themselves, but always follow the rules.
- Communicate. Employees should make an effort to get to know each other and share their experiences. Whether it be sharing success stories or asking for help, your coworkers are great resources.
- Be thankful. If you receive praise for a project where you received help from others, be sure to demonstrate gratefulness for their input. Be generous with gratitude. People will remember how they were treated.
- Find a mentor. The process of mentoring eager, smart young colleagues can be energizing and refreshing for senior employees. Do not be hesitant to create relationships with senior employees. Younger employees can learn a lot from someone in a management position.
About DeBoer Fellowship
The DeBoer Fellowship develops change leaders across all sectors of Myanmar society. Through a multi-year training class and additional public programs, the DeBoer Fellowship serves Myanmar by helping to grow competent, compassionate, and ethical leaders. For more information about DeBoer Fellowship or to apply for the Fellowship, please visit: www.deboerfellowship.org.