Inspiring Leadership with Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Enrique ‘Rick’ Ruiz is President of PositivePsyche.Biz Corp, a management consulting and training firm in the Washington DC area. He earned an MBA in the UK and has led diverse teams in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom and across the US. Rick is PgMP , CM and CDE certified, has managed operations up to 15,000 people strong, is an inventor with a family of six and he is an author of six books.
Enrique RuizeLooking for that next promotion? Ready for an increased salary, higher prestige and more power? Most everyone dreams of this opportunity but most are not ready for the “big job.”

Early in my career I was the best at knowing the intricacies of a particular laser system; after all, I trained army personnel how to use our system. The day came when my boss was leaving so I figured I was just going to slip into the position. As it turns out, I did not get the role and so I decided to jump ship and try my hand in other waters a year later.

Two years went by and then I was again offered a manager role. After my initial burst of excitement, I said to myself secretly that I was so glad that I did not get the promotion a few years back. I was shocked that I had that reflective thought but it was true. I was not ready to be a manager who could handle more responsibility and motivate a team.

Are you ready for more responsibility? Is your desk tidy and organized or are you inundated with things to do, burning the candle at both ends and not able to show your employer that you can in fact handle more responsibility? Is your attitude positive, engaging and motivating or are you waiting to “get the job” before you show what you are worth? The simple fact is that an employer usually has to “see” you doing the job BEFORE you are given the chance to prove yourself in earnest.

Consider the following items as preparation for your next promotion:

1. Is your steal tempered?

Leadership is more than a title. Can you handle tough situations, difficult customers, setbacks or employee issues in a methodical win-win fashion? Anyone can take the helm when the sea is calm. When the seas get rough are you seasoned enough to be the captain that will lead a team out of any potential rough seas?

Being a part of a challenging environment can temper your disposition and give you strength. Make the best of any challenging environment.

2. Are you the desired 20%?

Human nature has a statistical phenomenon observed by an Italian sociologist in the early 1900’s, Pareto. The Pareto principle, also known as the 80–20 rule or the law of the vital few, tells us that we can usually expect 80% of the work to be accomplished by 20% of the team. This rule applies across sociological, financial and customer spectrums. Do you step up to the plate and go the extra mile to get things done? Can management count on you? Strive to leave the ordinary and become the extraordinary 20%.

3. Are you giving life?

You can have anything you want in life if you can help enough people get what they need. Winston Churchill reminds us “You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give.” The pursuit of cash is a temporal reward. Helping others has lasting value that builds goodwill with potential customers, teammates and employers. Step up to help others. A candle loses nothing when it lights another candle but the room does get a whole lot brighter.

4. Do you have magnetic power?

Do people want to be around you because of the wisdom and high morale you bring to the table? Do they look to you for advice? Can you engage team members from other organizations to support your cause? Have you earned the respect necessary to rally others who do not work directly for you who will willingly following you?

5. Diversify your experience!

Gain different vantage views from multiple disciplines. Expand your experience base to include areas that you may not really like so you have a better understanding of the organization. An engineer who works in finance, manufacturing and quality will have a well-rounded perspective that will help the team achieve collective objectives more efficiently. Get engaged in test, customer service, proposal work or even a special “tiger team” to tackle new challenges.

6. Demonstrate flexibility

Accept petty sacrifices of change for the greater good. Can you travel, work shifts, take on special roles or assignments where the business needs you? Can you be humble enough to lead by example, even performing menial tasks when needed?

7. Exude Loyalty

Focus on doing your current job to the best of your ability. Your talk should be “our” company versus “they.” Be a walking ambassador for your organization. Loyalty breeds more personal investment and higher rewards with commensurate results. Seek out new responsibility and contribute ideas that will make the organization grow.

8. Be a constant scholar

The company owns the job but you own your career. Take responsibility for your own education/expansion and show that you have personal initiative to take action on your own. Take a class, read two business books a year, teach something at a seminar, write a paper on your own time or learn a new language. Be in tune with the marketplace so that when the opportunity comes for your new skill you are in a prime position to fill the need.

9. Stand Up and Be Counted

Whining to peers or family without taking a stand to help change the organization is a sign of weakness. Take the risk to share with management things that should be changed and be willing to lead the charge if necessary.

10. Show Your Integrity

We all want leaders who will “walk the talk” by being straightforward, respectful, open and honest with management. Lip service for misleading project status, team integration or work ethics can solve a short-term problem but they undermine your long-term credibility. In today’s world we look for individuals who have an ethical backbone to make optimum choices. Building up our character, and maintaining our reputation in the actions we take every day, is the best way to ensure we have a following.

Seek out opportunities to hone each of these ten things. Are you dressing the part, performing the role and showing that you can unite a team for a common cause? In essence, are you exhibiting leadership traits in advance of your promotion? If you are, your employer will surely rectify a wrong and give you the position for which you aspire to be in. Your next promotion is just around the corner. What difference will YOUR difference make?

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