Becoming a Leader in the Workplace When There's Competition

To be a leader in the workplace requires the ability to effectively control and direct situations. Leadership is a highly valued commodity in the workplace, and competition for leadership positions is often tough.

Defining your role as a leader in the workplace

People are effective leaders because of their personal characteristics combined with professional skills. The primary characteristics of workplace leaders are: 

  • Credibility: Leaders are trusted and respected because their judgment and skills are trusted and respected.
  • Creativity: Leader create new concepts and new methods of doing things. Their skills bring efficiency and depth to workplace operations.
  • Organizational skills: All leaders are excellent organizers. They create the operational schematics for their work.
  • Time management: Good leaders anticipate situations, and prepare in advance. They create reliable schedules for completion of tasks, and usually beat deadlines with ease.
  • Planning skills: With creativity, organizational skills and time management come excellent planning skills. Leaders work on both strategic (big picture) and tactical (operational) planning levels, producing integrated workplace systems.

To become a workplace leader, you need to see how you can demonstrate your leadership skills effectively. There are a range of options in most workplaces:

  •  Projects: These are arguably the best opportunities to show your full suite of leadership abilities. As a project leader, you can make your point very clearly by running a good project, beating estimates, and producing an excellent product. 
  • Supervisory and middle management roles: Productivity and work quality are the big defining elements in proving leadership potential in these areas. If you know how to show high levels of achievement in these roles, you're also proving a very solid professional skills set as well as leadership, particularly in core business areas. These skills, when proven, will ensure promotion into higher roles with more leadership potential. 
  • Your own work: A good standard of performance isn't quite leadership of itself, but you'll find that you are given roles like training and higher duties which allow room for your leadership abilities to be more obvious.

Competition and leadership roles in the workplace

Employers like healthy competition in leadership roles. Depending on circumstances, the competition in these areas can be team-based competition, or competition between individuals.

Team based competition: This is invariably performance based, with team leaders in direct competition for proof of their ability to achieve high performance. Team leaders are assessed on relative performance.

The parameters for team based competition are: 

  • Productivity
  • Work values
  • Efficiency
  • Management skills
  • Time management
  • Degrees of difficulty
  • Performance indicators

Important: Each of these parameters equates to directly measurable performance. To compete, you need to know how your competition is doing, and where you need to focus to beat them. This is a real match of skills, and your ability to lead will make the difference.

Individual based competition 

Your leadership skills can also show in performance as part of a team. The typical case is sales, where performance is measured ruthlessly for leadership abilities. If you show good performance coupled with good techniques and unique abilities, you're showing leadership within a team. Your methods work better, and your results prove that.