Waiting For The Tiara? Don’t. Lead Now.


Waiting for the tiara? Don't. Lead Now.

Practice leading before you become a leader – learn to show up as one

What are you waiting for? It’s a mistake to wait to lead.

Doing the work and then sitting back and waiting for others to notice is in all probability one of the slowest career-games you can play. The truth is, unless we demonstrate our skills and talents, and tell people what we can do, we’ll be waiting a long time for that new role. The Tiara Syndrome (Kolb and Frohlinger), is another of those workplace phenomenons that can hold our progress back; we’re not going to get crowned in glory unless others know what we’re achieving. Unfortunately, not everything comes to those who wait.

Many years ago, a client came to me because they’d observed  how differently a colleague had started showing up in the office. The colleague was a client; this new client wanted some of what the existing client had. Both of them have long since moved onward and upwards.

The truth is, you can’t wait for your boss or anyone else, to notice your achievements. In an ideal world of course, that’s all it would take to be offered that ideal role, but we are far from that, and a little carefully orchestrated visibility planning will go a long way. You can wait for the boss to notice you, or you can help them to notice you. I’d say the latter will be quicker, and more effective too.

You don’t need a personality transplant to create the impact you’d like to have.

You do need the ability to move outside your comfort zone, however much this scares you. This post On Confidence can help you with that, as will this post about Vulnerability 

One approach that will get you noticed if you do it the right way, is to lead before you have the title. That has been key to my client’s success (you can check out the Visible Leader Programme here). Show up as though you already have the title. This isn’t about throwing your weight around, telling your colleagues what to do or ingratiating yourself with every senior leader who walks through your office door.

It’s about embodying the very essence and qualities of what it means to be a leader. It’s about your attitude, your demeanor, your values, your communication style, your body language, your physical presence, your work ethic, your energy…the list could go on. You can lead without the title.

Sit down and ask yourself what you value in a leader – how do you know a leader you admire when you see one? Make a list, then ask yourself how you compare, honestly. What is one thing you could do that would have a big impact on how you show up? Commit to doing it. Notice what happens. Tweak if necessary. Repeat.

And at the same time, plan your visibility strategy. Don’t wait for the tiara – you could be waiting a very long time.

Susan Ritchie sepcialises in helping emerging leaders to make their presence felt and create more impactI’m Susan Ritchie and I can help you to position yourself for seniority. You can read my books, attend my (virtual) workshops or work with me on the Visible Leadership Programme.