Leading by Example

Davina Greene is The Personal Strategy Coach – a coach, trainer, and People consultant based in Dublin, Ireland. This column was first published in Irish Tatler magazine. 

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I have worked hard for my current employer for 8 years and yet I see no promotion on the horizon. I see myself as a business leader and believe I have made this clear, through both words and actions. What can I do now? 

I will assume that you are doing your job well, that you both understand and display leadership traits, and that you have clearly communicated your wish to your employer over a significant period. If this is not the case, please rewind and start there!

Your query reminds me of a common piece of Sales advice – the notion of “finding your buyer” as opposed to “making a sale”. Essentially, why spend time trying to convince someone they need your product (in this case, ‘you’ and the skills you offer)? Why not instead seek the audience that already wants what you are offering?

The more I work with people, the more I think this same logic applies. Do you want to be a leader to the point of being willing to move to find that role? If some view you as a leader now, how long will they watch you knocking on the same door, looking for a different answer, before they begin to question your conviction, your self-belief, your big-picture understanding, your ability to take difficult decisions? All of which are important leadership traits, don’t forget.

Your current company is only one of the places where you could seek a leadership role. Leadership skills are not company-specific, or even industry-specific. It would therefore interest me to understand what is holding you at that company, when you seem to have such a firm career goal in mind. You want to lead. Your employer is not playing ball. Yet, there are plenty of companies looking for true leaders. Ask yourself, what would a leader do now?