Mark Newman, founder and CEO of HireVue
By Mark Newman
July 10, 2015

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you go from a worker bee to a decision maker?” is by Mark Newman, founder and CEO of HireVue.

The layers of corporate hierarchy are shrinking as new demographics and higher expectations force organizations to remain innovative and retain their best employees. And when I think of those I know on the fast track to success, I find that nearly all of them execute the following do’s and avoid this major don’t. Do the same and you’ll accelerate your climb from worker bee to decision maker in no time.

Seize the opportunity to lead a team
The success of entire organizations rests on the strength of their teams and their leaders. Yet according to a 2013 Gallup study, companies pick the wrong person to lead 82% of the time. Additionally, only one in 10 people have the natural ability to lead, and just two in 10 can be trained to lead. If you happen to be in the 10% with the natural ability–game on. If not, pour your efforts into being part of the coachable 20%. Your success as a team leader is the biggest predictor of whether you can lead on a larger scale.

Act like a leader (even if you’re not one)
When you communicate with colleagues, act as if you’re already the leader by inspiring collective purpose and collaboration. The best leaders know how to rally a team around the mission at hand and always replace ‘I’ with ‘we.’ According to a recent NYT article, when people derive meaning and significance from their work, they are three times as likely to stay at a job, have 1.7 times higher job satisfaction and are 1.4 times more engaged at work.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses
Great leaders embrace their strengths and recognize their weaknesses. More importantly, they aren’t afraid to surround themselves with people who are smarter than themselves. Empower others to do more of what they’re great at and they will not only follow your lead, but respect you.

Don’t be a hoarder
If you withhold information or ‘protect’ your ideas for fear of losing credit, you’ll ooze distrust and resentment – hardly the hallmarks of a trusted leader. I see the most authentic leaders come to the table with a variety of ideas and knowledge to share. Your team members are your collaborators, not your competitors.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: How do you go from a worker bee to a decision maker?

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Why leaders need to focus on how they treat employees by Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia.

Why your job title doesn’t actually matter by Ryan Smith, CEO of Qualtrics.

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The advantages of a tough boss by Sunil Rajaraman, co-founder of Scripted.com.

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4 signs you’re ready to be a manager by Dominic Paschel, vice president of corporate finance and investor relations at Pandora Media.

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