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Darleen Ghirardi

Vice President of Procurement at Comcast Spectacor

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Are You Sabotaging Your Career by Being Perceived as a Doer and Not a Leader?

October 28, 2016

Those with executive presence exude confidence; they are influential, proactive and respond calmly, but firmly in challenging situations.

Do you have all the right credentials? Are you competent in your skillset and talents, yet going nowhere in your career? Which of the following attributes apply to you?

  • You have a college degree.
  • You have years of experience with a proven track record.
  • You are known as the “go-to” person when a deadline is moved up.

In addition, you consider yourself a “lone ranger” and are often handed work that others prefer not to do, as your boss knows that at the end of the day, you will get it done. You can be counted on to come through during a pinch and often are the first one at the office and the last one to leave. You are dedicated and loyal, yet going nowhere fast in your career. You are a slave to your job. You are continually passed up for promotion after promotion and don’t know why. You are perceived as a doer.

While each of these qualities can add to your overall value, your actions and how you are perceived by others is what really counts. So what's the key missing component for you? How can you be perceived as a leader?

Often that missing ingredient is “Executive Presence.” Those with executive presence exude confidence; they are influential, proactive and respond calmly, but firmly in challenging situations. In other words, they are “cool as a cucumber” under stress. They are considered leaders as they focus on the big picture and motivate others toward the overall success of the company. They are not afraid to step outside of their offices, roll up their sleeves and pitch in when needed.

How can you go from being a doer to a leader? Here are eleven success strategies to get you started on your way.

  • Find a mentor. Find a champion who will support and guide you in capturing your true leadership abilities.
  • Become a “people person.” Build relationships with your boss and colleagues. Sometimes, people wait to start building relationships until they need something from another person. This is the wrong way to go about it and can sabotage your career. You will become known as someone who uses others to get what they want versus making it on their own. This is not a good reputation to have!
  • Concentrate on the big picture and involve others. Involve others in projects by leading, mentoring and inspiring them to be their best. Always give credit where it is due. This shows the heart and soul of a true leader.
  • Read books on leadership. One of the books that helped shape my career was The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. This book taught me to believe in myself and how believing in myself is an attitude. I never forget that the choice of what I believe is up to me and no one else. What an eye-opening experience this was!
  • Attend job-related workshops and trade shows to expand your knowledge. I have met the most interesting people at these types of events. The first workshop I attended was called “Investment in Excellence Management.” This workshop was awesome. The message was profound. It reinforced my belief that each one of us is not only excellent, but extraordinary. We bring so much talent to the table and just need to open our eyes to realize this. Trade shows are excellent networking opportunities. Take advantage of them as they provide the perfect atmosphere to expand your knowledge and meet people from within as well as outside of your industry. They give us the opportunity to bring back new and fresh ideas to our bosses and are a great way to show him/her our leadership skills. In addition, what a great way to meet new people!
  • Develop your reputation as a credible expert in your field. Write articles in industry publications and speak at networking events. Show up. Be seen.
  • Articulate and communicate your value. Be vocal and confident when you speak up. Sitting in the back of the room and not speaking up makes you appear invisible to others. Your opinion counts!
  • Communicate your goals to your supervisor. Formulate these goals to make an impact on the overall goals of the company. How can you save the company time or money? Think about it, plan your actions, then work your plan.
  • Shift your focus. Concentrate on the value you bring to the table. Do not be afraid to toot your own horn. As I was climbing the corporate ladder, I was told that bragging was a bad thing to do. I soon figured out that my career would pass me by if I kept to myself and continued to be a doer. I kept a log of my achievements and talked about them with my boss - not only at my yearly evaluations, but all year long. If your company does not know who you are, how can they help you to lead?
  • Look the part. Dress for the job you want versus the one you have. Leaders show confidence in their appearance. And it shows. People pay attention. Are your clothes pressed? Do they fit well? Are your shoes shined, nails clean and hair combed? The details often make the difference. Doers may be so busy working that they forget to focus on their appearance.
  • Stop being a doer. You can maintain your credibility by handling your own workload. Learn to delegate to others. This helps showcase your leadership skills and gives your colleagues the chance to learn more and expand their talent.

Mastering your executive presence will help you stand out as a leader and is an integral step to that next promotion. And remember, as a leader, you are one step closer to creating that dream job that you desire.

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