Duty – Doing More Than What You Are Asked To Do
Leaders lead. They don’t sit back and wait for someone to tell them it’s okay to lead.
“Tell me about a time you were a leader among your peers.”
This was a question I used to ask as I interviewed people for promotions. Many of their examples started with, “One time my manager asked me to lead….” My follow-up question was always, “That’s great. Now, tell me about a time you were a leader among your peers when someone didn’t ask you to do it.” I asked this because I didn’t want to promote people who only led when they were asked to do so. I wanted people who stepped up and led because it was needed. When someone sees the need for leadership in a situation—and steps forward to assume that role—they exercise the habit of Duty.
I had a young sales representative who was hesitant to step forward among her peers. I explained to her, “Leaders lead. They don’t sit back and wait for someone to tell them it’s okay to lead.”
This rep had already proven to be a great individual contributor to our sales team. She won our company’s highest individual sales award within her rookie year. Now, she talked about future promotions. When she asked me the best way to prepare for a promotion, I told her, “There are two things you have to do. One, is to master your current job. Two, lead where you are.”
This is the advice I give to anyone who asks how to get a promotion. It holds true in any industry. If you master your current role and are seen as someone who leads wherever you are - without being told, you are a great candidate for promotion. Even frontline, individual contributors have opportunities to lead.