Several listeners and workshop participants asked me for advice on how to “DEMONSTRATE LEADERSHIP.”  This is a FANTASTIC question!

Whether you’re looking to get into an MBA program, get promoted from your entry-level position, or perhaps you’re ready to enter the c-suite, the decision-makers who will decide your fate are focused on your ability to LEAD.

Here are 3 ways to demonstrate leadership potential:

  1. Make leadership part of your personal brand
  2. Actively seek opportunities to lead
  3. Speak up and communicate effectively

leading public speaking image: unsplash @ miguel henriquezimage: unsplash @ miguel henriquez

1-2-3 let’s go!

1️⃣ Demonstrate Leadership with your Personal Brand

Your personal brand includes your values, your accomplishments, your credentials, your personality, and yes, even your aspirations.

path to leadership - unsplash @ lexmilo
image: unsplash @ lexmilo
  • Watch your words. Use the word “lead” to describe your contribution wherever it’s relevant. Consider how you describe your projects and activities.  This is not about falsely inflating your activities. Rather, it’s about accurately describing your contribution.  Did you “manage a project” or did you “lead a complex initiative”?  
  • Reinforce your personal path to leadership. Ensure that your personal branding narrative is focused on your ascension. This could be how you introduce yourself or how you write your bio. Make it easy for decision-makers to envision the next logical step in your path to leadership.
  • Consider your implicit communication.  Be conscious of your body language, as well as your tone, what you choose to share, and how you dress.  Reinforce your leadership potential through implicit communication. 


2️⃣ Actively Seek Opportunities to Lead

Many of us think leadership means a formal title and managing people.  But there are many other opportunities to demonstrate leadership.

demonstrating leadership
image: unsplash @ evalngelineshaw

  • Volunteer for special projects. This was a key piece of advice from CEO Jill Nykoliation.  You can accelerate your learning, improve your visibility, and gain access to senior decision-makers when you volunteer for special projects.
  • Think beyond leading people.  What else can you lead? You can lead an initiative, a project, a discussion, or a meeting. You can even volunteer to train people on a skill that you possess. Be a mentor. These are all ways we demonstrate leadership!
  • Grow your network. The stronger your network, the more leadership opportunities will come your way.  Join industry associations.  Say “yes” to that networking event.  Update your LinkedIn profile and network online


3️⃣ Speak-Up and Communicate Effectively

Effective leaders are strong communicators.  Here are a few suggestions for how you can do so, regardless of whether you’re already labelled as a leader.

leadership speaking image unsplash @ reimond_21
image: unsplash @ reimond_21

  • Communicate with confidence. Whether you’re mentally preparing for an important meeting or a speech, or perhaps you need to overcome that unexpected shot of adrenaline when someone calls your name, your confidence will imbue trust. Learn the ABCDEs to feel and be perceived as confident. 
  • Ask questions. Ask that question that everyone else was wondering. Asking questions will help you seek clarity and demonstrate your engagement.
  • Demonstrate thought-leadership. Contribute to meetings with substantive insight.  Speak up. Be proactive. Write and publish papers with a point of view.  (And call it “thought-leadership”!)

3 Ways to Demonstrate Leadership Potential

There you go, three ways to demonstrate leadership potential:

  1. Make leadership part of your personal brand
  2. Actively seek opportunities to lead
  3. Speak up and communicate effectively

boss mug leadership image unsplash @ paul hanaoka
image: unsplash @ paul hanaoka
Got it, BOSS?

Please forward this email to anyone who might appreciate insights on communication and demonstrating their leadership. Thank you! 


Talk soon,

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach

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