Leadership Skills

 9 Ways to Show Up As a Leader (When You’re Not One)

how to show up as a leader


If you’re reading this, you’re likely eying a leadership role.

Or ready to level up. And the good news is — You don’t need the title to show up as a leader.

There are simple ways to present yourself as a leader without being in charge.

Here are 9 things you can do to show up as a leader no matter your title!


How to Show Up as a Leader


1. Sit upfront

Think twice before sitting in the back row at your next work meeting. 

Where you sit in a meeting, says a lot about you.

When you sit up front in meetings, it does a few things. 

A) It shows you care

B) It shows you plan to be a part of the conversation

C) It says you’re important

As a leader, you want to position yourself front-and-center in every meeting you’re in. 


You can’t make a difference if you’re hiding in the back. 


What this looks like

Arrive at your meetings a few minutes early. 

This way you can scope out the room. 

And strategically place yourself next to decision-makers.


2. Take on visible projects


There are two types of projects in the workplace. 

Visible and invisible work.

Visible work is high value and projects that get noticed by leadership. 

Invisible work needs to get done to keep the business going. 

You get paid for invisible work and get promoted for visible work. 

Raise your hand for visible work whenever possible.

Studies show that women tend to be invisible at work to avoid backlash from bosses and colleagues.

To get ahead at work, you have to be seen. 


What this looks like

Say your company is getting acquired.

Invisible work is helping to organize the files and paperwork to close out the deal. 

Now visible work is a bit sexier.

Visible work is creating a leadership transition plan to help onboard the new executives. 

See the point I’m making?


3. Ditch the Office Drama 


You can’t afford to be seen throwing shade at people you could one day manage. 

Avoid office drama at all costs. 

If you want to be taken seriously as a leader, you have to come across as neutral. 

Meaning you have no favorites or enemies. 

Presenting yourself as a leader means you have to be the bigger person at all times. 

So stay out of your feelings. 

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4. Speak up first


If you have something important to say.

Then say it.

Don’t wait for permission from others to speak up. 

No matter your level, always see your opinion as value-adding.

Because it is. 


What this looks like

Always prepare 2 – 3 questions or talking points for every meeting you attend. 

Be the first to raise your hand when Q&A starts.

Pay attention throughout the meeting so you don’t ask questions that we’re already answered.

Don’t be that person!


5. Brand yourself as a go-to person


Don’t be stingy if there’s a topic that you know very well. 

Good leaders are very generous with sharing their knowledge

Sharing your skills with others positions you as a go-to person on that topic.


What this looks like

Say you’re known for strong time management skills. 

Offer to lead a time management training for your department that’s struggling with too many overtime requests. 

Think of something you’re always being complimented on. 

Now go offer to help someone in that area.

That’s how you brand yourself as a go-to person. 


6. Solve problems


If you want to be a leader, getting paid and staying out the way won’t cut it anymore. 

You have to solve problems for your company. 

This means gathering the right data and offering solutions based on your observations. 


What this looks like 

In a group setting, help keep your team focused by asking the right questions. 

Here are some questions you can ask to come across leader like: 

Do we have the info we need to evaluate the situation? 

Can we stay focused on finding the root cause of the problem?   

What other options are we overlooking? 


7. Share Feedback


Good leaders can give and receive feedback. 

But that kind of feedback should you give when you’re not the boss? 

Try offering simple appreciation.


What this looks like

“I thought you did an excellent job in there.” 

Never underestimate the power of kind words.


8. Make friends with other leaders


You’re an average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

If you want to be a leader and none of those people are. 

It’s time to change that. 

Don’t feel like a sell-out for wanting to level up your network


What this looks like

Invite a leader you admire to a virtual lunch date.   

This can be someone at work or online. 

Don’t come off like you want their job (even if you do lol).

Or else they may not help you. 

During this meeting, ask for nothing. 

Just get to know them. 

And find out how you can add value to their lives.  


9. Know your stuff


Showing up as a leader means knowing your industry in and out.

This means being obsessed with learning as much as possible about your space.


What this looks like

Set up google alerts for keywords in your industry. 

You may want to create a separate email account for this. 

This way you stay on top of the latest trends happening in your field. 


Showing Up as a Leader


You don’t have to be a leader to show up as one.

Showing up as a leader means taking bold actions that set you up for success. 

If you apply these tips and our leadership development plan, you’ll be calling the shots in no time!

Remember, leveling up is a marathon, not a race. 

Be patient with your journey ok?

You’ve got this!


Now it’s your turn


How will you show up as a leader? Head over to our comments section on social @netwerkmovement and let us know! 

Share this with a future leader!


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