How To Assume a Leadership Role (With Steps and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 15, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Leaders often possess natural skills and traits that equip them with the qualifications needed to succeed as a manager, supervisor or team lead. Assumed leadership is an approach to management that fosters these natural abilities and allows employees to demonstrate their leadership potential. If you're a natural leader, assuming a leadership role within your organization can provide you with exciting opportunities for career advancement. In this article, we define assumed leadership, discuss how to assume a leadership role and provide additional tips to help you excel in a leadership position.

Related: The Concept of Leadership Explained: Cultivating Effective Leadership

What is assumed leadership?

Assumed leadership is an approach to management that provides opportunities for employees to accept leadership roles without going through a traditional hiring process. Assumed leadership allows capable and qualified employees to benefit from internal promotion after demonstrating their leadership skills in smaller, controlled instances. For example, a manager may assign a group project to a team or department. Naturally, one of the employees within the team may assume a leadership role by providing structure, supervision and motivation to the rest of the team. Managers may recognize this natural leadership ability and promote the employee to project manager.

Related: Identifying Leadership Potential and Building Leadership Skills

How to assume a leadership role

Consider the following steps to assume a leadership role and show your employers your potential as a leader:

1. Focus on your performance

In order to gain the attention of your managers as a potential leader, it's important that your performance exceeds expectations. When you deliver excellence in your work, managers may take notice and consider you for leadership positions. To do this, be sure to complete your tasks thoroughly and promptly, seek assistance when needed and contribute your thoughts and ideas to company projects. You may also consider new methods and techniques that could boost your performance and ask for feedback from your managers to demonstrate your desire to succeed.

2. Cultivate followers

Cultivating followers is an important step toward showing managers your ability to motivate others. To do this, it's important to guide your teammates when they seek help and to develop skills and traits that others may find inspiring. Consider developing the following traits to build a followership:

  • Self-motivated: Being a self-motivated employee who is willing to put in the effort to achieve results can inspire others to do the same.

  • Enthusiastic: Followers often want a leader who is passionate and enthusiastic about their work. Showing your drive and desire to succeed can have an inspiring effect on your followers.

  • Ambitious: Setting high expectations for yourself and holding yourself accountable to those expectations can inspire others to reach their fullest potential.

  • Results-oriented: Holding others accountable for their performance can show your followers your dedication to excellence and your drive to achieve results.

3. Understand your strengths

Leaders often understand their strengths and use them strategically to accomplish their goals. Having a strong sense of self-awareness can help you understand your impact as a leader within your organization and make informed decisions about how you can contribute to the workplace. Reflect on your strengths and talents and consider how they can benefit your company. Then, try to be confident enough to use those strengths, even if doing so leads you outside of your usual responsibilities.

Often, managers appreciate an employee willing to apply their strengths to the betterment of the organization. They may appreciate your confidence and consider you as a future leader.

4. Think strategically

To excel in a leadership position, you may need to practice thinking strategically or on a broader scale. Leaders often need to be aware of many aspects of an organization, not just a specific department or project. Being able to think about many processes at once may help you determine areas of improvement and contribute to your success in a leadership position. Demonstrating your ability to think strategically is an effective way to impress managers with your leadership potential.

For example, if you notice that many of your customers have similar concerns about a product, you may be able to identify the underlying cause of the issue and determine a solution, instead of simply reacting to each of their complaints individually.

5. Seek mentors

Seeking mentorship opportunities with other leaders within your organization can be an effective way to position yourself for a role in leadership. Try to learn from and network with other managers, supervisors and team leaders in your company. Often, these individuals may view your eagerness to learn as a sign of your potential as a leader. Additionally, you may learn some valuable knowledge, develop skills and gain insight about how to succeed is a leadership position.

Related: Leadership Ideas: 25 Characteristics To Improve Leadership

6. Accept new opportunities

If you're asked to complete new or additional tasks at work, it's important to accept these requests to demonstrate your willingness to assume more responsibility. If you have the capacity to complete additional tasks, you may also offer your assistance to your managers, supervisors and team leaders. Accepting new opportunities can provide you with a chance to demonstrate your skills in areas other than your usual duties, show your managers your work ethic and inspire your coworkers to do the same. Managers may notice these qualities and consider you for leadership opportunities.

Tips for excelling in a leadership role

Below are some additional tips for excelling in a leadership role:

Learn from other leaders

Learning from other leaders is a valuable step toward excelling in a leadership role. Consider leaders you admire and research or observe their methods of leadership and how they apply their skill to their success. Then, you can apply their strategies to your own approach to leadership. Leaders you find inspiring could include:

  • Managers

  • Business owners

  • Coaches

  • Public speakers

  • Celebrities

  • Political figures

  • Activists

Set goals

Setting goals can help you track your progress as you assume a leadership position. Try to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses as a leader and prioritize your goals accordingly. Then, it may be helpful to use the acronym SMART to organize your goals and create objectives that contribute to your success as a leader. SMART goals are goals that are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Realistic

  • Time-based

Related: 3 Types of Leadership in the Workplace

Show your passion

Showing your drive and passion for your work can make a positive impression on managers and decision-makers. It's important to demonstrate your love for your profession and your drive to become a successful leader. To do this, be sure to ask for feedback from your managers and supervisors, maintain a positive, ambitious attitude, help your coworkers when they need assistance and offer input that could contribute to the success of your organization.


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