In the last blog post, we talked about how to exude leadership qualities by following a few rules of the road. Even if you are not the person in charge at the office, you can begin now to do things which position you for leadership opportunities. Here are some more tips which will help you appear more leader-like in the workplace and ultimately, to your b-school admissions committees.
1). Get up early
In today’s increasingly flexible workplace, it’s becoming easier to make your own schedule. All too quickly, bad habits can arise, however, when we are left to our own devices. Benjamin Franklin’s mantra about being early to bed and early to rise is as beneficial as it ever was, but fewer people are getting up early anymore. Even if your work schedule does not require you to wake up early, you might consider rising with the sun anyway. Not only will your natural biorhythm and circadian cycle thrive, you will feel more accomplished and ahead of the game. When you spend some time in the morning sharpening the saw, exercising, or even just thinking about your day instead of waking up at the last possible minute and diving into work, you will become more organized and thoughtful. Being the first person into the office will also go a long way towards making an impression that you are a leader.
2) Always have a pen
This is a seemingly meaningless and minute tip, but take my word for it—people who have pens look like leaders. Particularly in a world where we all send ourselves reminders on our phones, the art of writing something down is dying. When you write something down in a meeting or on the fly, people notice. It makes you look ready, eager and conscientious. When you text yourself, people think you aren’t listening. Writing something down also makes the person you are talking to feel important and making others feel important is the most important tip of all.
3) Make others feel important
A leader’s most important quality is the ability to listen. Everyone thinks of themselves as a good listener and a “people person,” but few people actually exhibit good listening skills. When you listen to someone you are actually communicating to them that they are important. Making someone feel important takes the spotlight off yourself and shines it on them. When you are made to feel important by someone else, your opinion of that person rises right along with your own self esteem—it’s truly win/win. When someone feels like they have been heard, they feel valuable. Eventually they run through walls for you because they know you believe in them. This is how leaders are made---they ultimately have everyone willing to run through walls for them.
If you utilize these tips as you apply for business school, your leadership will be palpable and just might help you stand out from the crowd of other leaders clamoring for slots in top schools.