The Leadership Job Skill For Your Career

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Aug 28

When we perform as an individual contributor, there is a misconception that what we do isn’t about leadership. Yet, individual contributors – people who work in cubes – have great leadership capability in their work.

But how do individuals do their jobs and build their careers around leadership?

One of the missed opportunities for people working on their career development is that what applies to great leaders applies to us as individuals.

Sure, the stories of great leaders often involve large departments or entire companies – they have to in order to get noticed by the media. But, underlying these grand stories are the foundational principles of leadership for individuals.

One of the great definitions of leadership comes from Lisa Haneberg in her site Management Craft. In it – Leadership is Just One Thing – comes this definition of leadership:

So the one thing is proactivity with a tinge of charisma that feels compelling, is at the service of others, demonstrates ownership of results, targeted to provide the greatest benefit, and that is delivered by someone we trust.

Looking at that definition, you can see that you can apply these principles as an individual contributor on your team.

The job performance skills necessary are the same ones that demonstrate that you are a Cubicle Warrior:

  • Competency in your job skills
  • Delivering results to you team
  • Willingness to help others on your team
  • Own your results
  • Build trust with others in your work.

Being a leader in a team doesn’t mean that you run or manage the team. Instead, your leadership capabilities mean that people will want to live up to the work standards you demonstrate in your interactions with the team.

Yes, individual contributors can be leaders. You can use this definition of leadership to build your job skills to include leadership.