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 Suzanne Dowd Zeller, chief human resources officer at Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.
So you want to be a manager? The first step to becoming a decision maker is taking on more responsibilities. For example, take on a new project or help a fellow co-worker. Whatever the task may be, make sure it exposes you to another part of the business and develops your leadership skills–actions speak louder than words.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of taking on new challenges at work is the people you will meet. You may find a mentor, coach, or sponsor. These are the people you need in your corner to help guide you in the transition from worker bee to decision maker. But more importantly, make sure your goals and aspirations are known by your manager and throughout the organization. Vocalizing your ambitions to the right people can help you find the next big opportunity. In my case, I volunteered to move to Germany for six months to help set up a marketing/sales office for my company. It was a terrific learning experience both professionally and personally.
So go ahead, blaze your own trail. Be proactive and take the initiative to learn new skills and expand your network. You’ll be surprised by what you can accomplish if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone.
Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: How do you go from a worker bee to a decision maker?
3 tips for first-time managers by John Ambrose, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at Skillsoft.
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.
Why this CEO believes you should be more opinionated at work by Sarah Kauss, CEO and founder of S’well.
How to be more bossy at work (in a good way) by Joe Hyrkin, CEO of Issuu.
The advantages of a tough boss by Sunil Rajaraman, co-founder of Scripted.com.
How to smoothly transition from a colleague to a manager by Nir Polak, CEO and co-founder of Exabeam.
4 signs you’re ready to be a manager by Dominic Paschel, vice president of corporate finance and investor relations at Pandora Media.