Regardless of your function or role, everyone has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in a variety of ways. It doesn’t require an official management title or position. You can be an individual contributor without direct reports and still be in a position to influence change or create a positive impact on your organization and those around you.
Our panelists, Meg Hewitt (Salesforce), Kelly Anne Parker (BetterUp) and Cassie Yettru (WISE), shared tips on how you can be a leader even if you are not a people manager and how to hone in on what’s truly best for you. Here are some of our takeaways.
You are the owner of your story, don’t let anyone write it for you.
There are countless professional and personal factors that go into every decision someone makes, so remember that you control your narrative and shouldn’t worry too much about what something looks like on paper. What’s on your resume and LinkedIn profile is just a fraction of who you are, it doesn’t define you.
Go into management because you think it will fill your cup, not for any other reason.
If you go into a management role because others are pressuring you or you feel that it’s what you “should” do, you’ll end up being less of a service to your company than you would’ve been if you stayed in an individual contributor role. Those who go into management for the wrong reasons end up being more of a disservice to their company because good managers are genuinely fulfilled by motivating teams and relinquishing personal wins. You can be an individual contributor and embody leadership by inspiring those around you without having to be in an official management role.
Leaders pay it forward.
Regardless of your role, helping your colleagues, customers, and those around you will always be beneficial in the end, whether you see the benefit immediately or not. When you help others, you pay it forward without knowing what you’ll get in return and build relationships in the process, which could and most likely will eventually come back to benefit you down the road.
Being a leader and being in management are two different things, and a great salesperson does not automatically make for a great manager. Whether you are an individual contributor or a manager, embrace your role and your influence, and use it to support those around you. To quote Kelly,
“Management is an interview. Leadership is not a promotion or an interview process – you could wake up today and choose to be a leader and you don’t need someone else to give you that opportunity.”
Want to learn more? You can stream the full event recording here.
Thank you to all of the WISE partners for making this event possible and our panelists for sharing their time and advice.