6 Ways to Develop Your Leadership Skills When You Don’t have a Leadership Role


If you have management aspirations, you know that you need to demonstrate to your supervisors or potential employers that you have the leadership skills that are essential for any manager or team leader. To become a successful leader, you need to learn to inspire others to work hard to achieve shared goals. However, how do you develop these skills if you don’t have any direct reports in your current role?

You don’t necessarily have to head a large team in order to practice your leadership skills. These soft skills can be learned with your current job with the right approach. Let’s take a look at 6 ways to do this effectively!

1.      Inspire Others

Successful leaders are those who inspire others to work hard, set achievable goals, be more productive, and deliver everything on time. If you have the ability to inspire others by your actions and motivational speech, then you have leadership qualities. You can inspire your colleagues and even your supervisors, even if you’re not already a manager.

Leadership is about encouraging others to do better. Let’s say your colleague is having second thoughts about applying for a new position. You encourage them to submit the application and help them to prepare for the interview. This is leadership!

2.      Be a Learner

Leadership starts with knowledge. Anyone, regardless of their job, can be a leader as long as they are passionate about learning new things. Knowledge prepares you for future challenges. It isn’t just about advancing your technical skills, but you must also focus on developing soft skills and other areas that can build your knowledge base.

Honing your leadership skills means learning from others. You cannot be a good leader if you aren’t a good listener. Leaders learn from their employees, listen to them, and work on their feedback. You must show interest in learning from your colleagues and supervisors.

3.      Be an Influencer

Leadership must not be confused with authority. Anyone can be a supervisor or a manager, whether of a small business or within a large corporation. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are a good leader. If you want to build leadership skills, you must learn to influence others.

A successful leader uses their knowledge, problem-solving skills, and position to influence others, and these are skills you can develop regardless of your level of responsibility. For example, when you are attending a meeting, don’t just sit and listen to others speak. Be sure to speak up and be an active participant.

4.     Learn Effective Communication

Another important quality of a leader is communication, and communication skills can be learnt at any time, though this takes some practice. Virtually anyone can come up with innovative and excellent ideas. However, not everyone knows how to put these ideas across. How you write an email, interact with employees at all levels, and communicate with others is all down to your communication skills.

Communication is one of the most underrated aspects of leadership, but it is absolutely vital. If you have ever heard a leader speak, you must have noticed how they capture the minds of their subordinates with their words. Even simple ideas can have great impact when they are communicated well. By starting to work on your communication know, you are make the first important step on your journey to become a leader.

5.      Don’t be Afraid of Risk

Leaders are not scared of taking risks. There is always a chance that out-of-the-box thinking or creative ideas may fail. However, that must not stop you from trying something new. If you are not willing to take risks, then you can never progress to a leadership role.

For example, if your manager asks you to cover tasks or take on projects that are outside your normal realm of responsibility, then you should welcome the opportunity. Learning from new experiences is the only way to progress. Even if you fail at first, you will at least learn something new, and this failure will give you a better idea of the areas you need to improve.

6.      Take on Other Responsibilities

Even if you are not responsible for leading a team, there are other ways that you can take on responsibility at work and develop your leadership skills. For example, you can get yourself trained in first aid and volunteer to be the dedicated first aid or fire safety officer for your floor or department. This is also a great way to demonstrate your leadership skills, as well as your willingness to take on responsibility, both of which will put you first in line for promotion. 

Not every aspiring or even existing manager has the full range of important leadership qualities. A successful leader needs a range of soft skills that are learned from experience, and many of these can be learned at any stage of your career.