9 Ways To Take Charge Of Your Career And Be A Leader

Last updated 25 May 2022 . 1 min read

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Taking charge of your career by setting clear goals and targets is one of the prerequisites to keep moving ahead in life. Don't you agree?

Moving ahead and leading the way can help you get more recognition in the workplace, making your work-life satisfying. But have you ever wondered what it takes to turbocharge your professional life? 

Getting noticed or knowing what to do isn't always easy. Constantly pushing yourself and getting out of your comfort zone may be one of the ways to steer ahead in your career, but there is a lot to this. 

Listed below are a few of the behaviours and competencies one must possess to get an edge over the others. 

9 Ways To Excel In Your Career And Become A Leader

#1. Carve Out A Career Plan

Career mapping is a self-reflective exercise linked to increased productivity and performance. It encourages one to map out short-term and long-term career goals and  be future-ready 

It's crucial to take a moment and plan out your career trajectory. Setting specific goals and aligning yourself with your ideal career path will help you achieve your career goals faster. 

Career mapping involves developing specific skills and getting access to training opportunities and job rotations. Get guidance for your dream career and map out a career plan for yourself.

8 Steps to planning your career-

  • Review where you're now

  • Identify your strengths and opportunities

  • List down your career ambitions and dreams

  • Jot down the external factors that could impact your career

  • Identify and consider future life events that could affect your career

  • Decide where'd you see yourself in the next 1-3 years

  • Research the skills, qualifications and experiences needed to move ahead in your career.

  • Revisit your career plan every year and update it accordingly

Benefits of career mapping-

  • Attracts high-quality workforce

  • Increases employee retention

  • Helps in employee engagement

  • Leads to increased security and loyalty

#2. Networking And Putting Yourself Out There

Being a 'people's person' always proves beneficial in the run long rather than being in a 'no man's land'. The power of networking is immense and could lead to job opportunities or discussions which could take your career on an upward trajectory.

Connecting with like-minded people, initiating interactions, and making yourself accessible will help nurture meaningful relationships and grow your network.  

But before you make a move, remember that networking should always be two-sided. Always have something on your plate to offer. 

Benefits of networking-

  • Creates an avenue to exchange ideas

  • It gives you more visibility

  • It makes you more self-confident

  • Heps develop long-lasting, meaningful relationships

#3. Be Ready To Embrace Risks

Here's a famous saying- "A person who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." It is okay to make mistakes and take risks with your career if you want to move ahead. 

Should I quit my job and start my venture? Should I start applying to some other company? Should I consider moving to a new location? There might be innumerable thoughts going on your mind while you're looking for suggestions for career development. The decision you take depends on your current situation and your personality. 

It's natural that, as humans, we'd like to have stability. Anything that disrupts our daily routine makes us uncomfortable. But to succeed, one needs to step out of one's comfort zone and be willing to take risks. The fear of losing always looms over us. But learning to fail and realizing that 'failure is success in progress' will help one proceed on the right career path.

Benefits of taking risks in your career-

  • It makes you overcome your fear and helps in growth

  • It makes you learn new things

  • It enables you to take calculated risks

  • Risk-takers always have a competitive advantage

#4. Make Time To Give Back And Pay It Forward

As women, the more we advance, the more opportunities we have to inspire and guide other women in their careers. Remember the times when you received the support of women and how their help enabled you to get where you are today. Make time to share your learnings, support other women in their careers and celebrate their success.

Always make time to give back and pay it forward. Never forget wherever you're in your career, you didn't get there without any help. There was always someone there for you who helped you carve a path for yourself. 

Make time to share your experiences and learnings with others. Help them learn a thing or two from your journey, and make time to celebrate their success. Consider investing some time in sharing resources and stories which could be fruitful to someone. You never know when someone could reach out to you to mentor them.

Benefits of giving back:

  • Brings more clarity

  • Helps in confidence-building and personality development

  • Motivates you to take on bigger challenges

  • Help you become a leader

#5. Say 'YES' To Opportunities

The word 'yes' is truly magical when you are on the path to career development. Saying yes to opportunities may help advance your career just like you want it to be. It helps one grow as a professional. 

Embrace new opportunities with a big 'yes' and never shy away from doing something new. Taking up new opportunities always helps new learning, meeting new people and opening doors to success. There is never a dull moment. 

So, stretch yourself and say 'yes' to opportunities aligned with your goals. Turning down options at the right time may derail you from your career path.

Benefits of saying 'yes':

  • It opens up new opportunities

  • It helps in building stronger relationships

  • It helps you find meaning in your work

  • Makes you trustworthy 

#6. Seek Out Mentors

When you're just starting and looking for ways to take control of your career, everything might seem overwhelming. Also, there might be days when you might feel lost and confused when you're busy climbing the career ladder. It's then that a mentor can help.

Mentors can help you set the right path. They play an essential role in being our career advocates, pushing us to achieve our career goals. Mentorship is one of the prerequisites for excelling in a career. And it's always good to have someone by our side, rooting for us, right?

Benefits of mentorship:  

  • Helps in increased knowledge transfer

  • Leads to SMART succession planning

  • It helps in making more robust internal networks

  • Motivates you to achieve your goals and objectives

#7. Speak Up And Increase Your Visibility

Employee visibility can be directly proportional to employee satisfaction and productivity. The more you keep your head up, the more are the chances of getting ahead in your career leading to personality development

It's important to let people know who you are and what you can do for them. Having a gentle spotlight on yourself can help move your career in the right direction.

Speaking up in meetings, strengthening your relationship with your co-workers, and volunteering for high visibility projects are among the few things to increase your visibility in the organization.

Benefits of raising your visibility-

  • Visibility increases your credibility

  • It helps in developing your self-confidence

  • It makes you more likely to be picked up for opportunities

  • It gives you an upper hand during appraisal meetings

#8. Retrospect On Yourself

Take the time to know yourself. Know your values, goals, strengths, and weaknesses. Self-Reflection can always help you become a better leader and take charge of your career.

Self-reflection can be a powerful tool for growth. It can help you understand your underlying motivations, allow you to work better with others and make smarter career choices. It also enables you to define your priorities and hold yourself accountable. 

Benefits of self-reflection-

  • It helps in defining your professional goals and strategizing your career growth

  • Increase your understanding of yourself and your colleagues

  • Reduces negative thoughts and helps plan your career better

  • It enables you to focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses.

#9. Hone Your Skills

No matter what, learning shouldn't stop. Learning should be an ongoing process if you're looking to advance your career. List down what skills you need to move ahead in your career, talk to people, retrospect and work towards honing your skillsets.

While mapping a career path for yourself, always go a step further and embrace the skills you'll need. Take up-skilling courses and work on your weaknesses. Could now be a good time to take up a digital communication course and be future-ready? Or should I take up a certification course on communication to strengthen my communication skills? Know your strengths and weaknesses, and never miss an opportunity to learn. 

Benefits of upskilling:

  • Leads to employee retention

  • Fills skills gaps in your resume

  • Makes your future-ready

  • Foster a culture of learning

Recap: 9 ways to take charge of your career and be a leader

1. Carve out a career plan

2. Network and put yourself out there

3. Be ready to embrace risks

4. Make time to give back and pay it forward

5. Say 'yes' to opportunities

6. Seek out mentors

7. Speak up and increase your visibility

8. Retrospect on yourself

9. Hone your skills

Managing your career or taking control of your job can be the most burning issue in every professional's mind. Career progress requires proper planning and strategizing, and the sooner you do it, the better. 

We hope these tips will help you take complete control of your career. Your career growth is your responsibility, so take charge and emerge as a winner.

Join the Glow and Lovely career community on the SHEROES platform. You can chat with a career coach and get free online career guidance and counselling.


Vandana Das
Vandana is a full-time writer, blogger and content strategist. She loves travelling and making doodles and comic strips.

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