[08.12.10]
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3 Ways To Demonstrate Leadership While Finding A Job

leadership, job search, transition, finding a job, career networking

The following is a summary of my presentation this morning at AASE (American Association of Senior Executives) here in Irvine, California.  A great group!  If you were there this AM or have thoughts on this topic, please share in the comments below.

Here’s an interesting question:

If you were a leader in your former company, why are you playing such a passive role in your job search?

Is this true of you?  Not sure?

The question popped into my head as I was thinking about a number of interactions I’ve had over the past few weeks with executives in transition.

All very smart.  Leaders of large teams.  Running a division at good sized companies.

Yet tentative in their approach to job search.  And hesitant to step in where a clear void of leadership exists.

So I started to think about why this would be the case.  And here’s what I came up with:

  • “This job hunt won’t last long.  Why over-commit unnecessarily?”
  • “None of these people report to me.  What if they don’t listen?”
  • “I have no clue what I am doing so far.  What could I possibly lead?”
  • “Seems like there is a LinkedIn or Meet-Up group for every possible need.  No need for me to crowd the market with one of my own.”
  • “I know how to lead a team and create a vision.  But there’s no structure in the job search world”

All excuses really but I can see how they might be justified.  And I can see how an executive might feel a bit like a duck out of water.  But I think we can fix that.

Because if you think about some of the commonly held views of executive strengths.  There are some great uses I can think of that fit nicely into the loose structure of the job search community.

In my view the key strengths include:

  • Knowledge and Expertise – About their industry and about their role in a company.
  • Identifying And Structuring a Strategic Vision – For their team and the larger organization
  • Communicating Big Ideas – To gain support and motivate a following

You may have another view of key leadership roles.  Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

So, what could you possibly offer the job search community with the skills identified above?

Well, I have a few ideas . . . ok three:

1.  With your knowledge and expertise, you should be writing a blog. You’ll have to find a specific topic to write about.  One that really taps your specific area.  And you’ll have to stay on point to keep your readers.  But blogging is a really fun way to share ideas in front of a big audience.  Not just a few board members.

2.  With your ability to identify and structure a strategic vision, you could be helping others in your network to craft a strong and own-able positioning or personal branding statement. Everyone needs help with this even if they don’t think they do.  You will become the talk of the circuit after word spreads that you are taking some time out of your precious schedule to dedicate time to others.

3.  With your way of communicating big ideas and motivating crowds, you should be out speaking. Teaching people about your industry.  Your function.  Or how to, yes, craft a positioning statement that gets people noticed.

The truth is that all of us feel like a duck out of water in job search.  At least in the beginning.  It can be scary.  Stressful.  And downright knee-buckling.

Until someone comes along to lead us back into the safety of the water.

If you like this post, click on the like button at the top of the post (it’s new) or re-tweet it on Twitter (also up top).  A smaller, but still powerful form of leadership.  Thanks!

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Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Finding New Job

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