Citizen of the World Guides
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chapter 20
prepare yourself

Do not wait for a promotion to begin preparing yourself for a supervisory or manager position. Be proactive in expanding your functional expertise and experience by exposing yourself to the best practices in your field, including those of the competition. Demonstrate initiative in pursuing opportunities and encouraging others to join you in doing so. Attend workshops and read trade and business publications on a regular basis. Research how things are done in other countries and regions.
Equally important, start developing your own sense of leadership philosophy or mantra. Leadership is not something elusive just practised by CEO’s and presidents. While the top person sets the tone and pace, leadership is exhibited at every level of the most successful organizations. Study the individuals both internally and externally who have a reputation for getting outstanding results and promotions. Read about the great business success stories in your country and internationally and the people who created them. Learn by their example.
Countless articles and books exist on the subject of leadership but the best describe how exceptional individuals built dominant world-class enterprises, such as Steve Jobs at Apple, Akio Morita at Sony, Sam Walton at Wal-Mart, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank at The Home Depot, Jorma Ollila at Nokia, Jeff Bezos at Amazon and Herb Kelleher at Southwest Airlines. Ask yourself what stands out about these success stories and the leaders responsible for them.
You will discover that virtually all exceptional leaders share these ten characteristics:
  • An infectious sense of real passion and excitement about their endeavors.
  • A talent for relentlessly communicating the mission, vision and values of their organization to everyone.
  • An obsession with putting customers or clients absolutely first before all else.
  • An insatiable curiosity that continually challenges the status quo and conventional thinking.
  • A decisive, demanding approach to dealing with issues and challenges.
  • A commitment to creating a culture of excellence by hiring the best, brightest and most capable individuals.
  • An ability to coach and empower people to achieve their best, in part through leading by example.
  • An insistence on the highest standards of ethical behavior and integrity.
  • An inclusive, basic fundamental respect for others from all walks of life, regardless of their circumstances, position or background.
  • An easy, fun sense of humor combined with a genuine degree of humility.
Visualize how you want to conduct yourself when you are placed in a leadership role anywhere in your organization. Develop your own leadership mantra and realize the need to continuously learn as you go. Recognize that coaches get better results than “bosses” and that teamwork is usually a much stronger force than individual action.
The book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s former chief operating officer, encourages women to pursue their ambitions and take on more risks and challenges to advance in their careers. Sandberg has also co-founded the website to provide resources, inspirational stories and “a global community” in support of helping women realize their personal and professional dreams.


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