Here are my top three tips for leaders who find themselves challenged by the unprecedented events and markets of 2011.

1. Leverage leadership opportunities into enhanced career value – Assert yourself as a leader by accepting even greater responsibility without being asked. Go beyond the call of duty to support the performance of coworkers, teams, and bosses. Do that and you become the strongest link in the human resource chain and the most valuable player on the team.
That virtually assures that you will be recognized as a true leader by everyone around you. In fact, they will want to see you rise in leadership because they know that with you at the helm their own careers will be more successful and rewarding.

2. To lead is to learn – True leadership not only inspires teams, but it also mentors and teaches individuals. The leader must live and lead by example as a model for others to aspire toward and follow. To be a well-rounded leader requires constant skill acquisition and personal development. Within today’s top organizations, for example, high potential leaders are expected to become familiar with every aspect of the operation. That requires that you reach out beyond your department or area of expertise to network across the organizational grid.

Take advantage of mentors and coaches, and become an expert at image and brand management. Companies yearn for leaders who have mastered the nuances of cross-cultural business and global leadership, and who know how to be the face of the organization in front of the media spotlight. Those who are proactive about adding to their skill sets and developing a more dynamic leadership presence will get noticed – and will prosper despite the tough economy.

3. Lead from the trenches – The best way to ensure your own success, particularly when workplace morale is down and the economy is lackluster, is to get behind your teams and support, inspire, and propel their own performance.
If they know that you understand their day-to-day challenges you gain powerful respect. When you are perceived as their best advocate for career success and promotions, they will do anything for you.
You must still delegate. But spend time every day connecting with people at a personal level and listening to their concerns. Ask how you can make their individual jobs easier, and follow through with a visible action plan.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS is an internationally distinguished executive coach, corporate consultant, professional speaker, and the founding CEO of her own company, Illustra Consulting. A career acceleration and leadership presence expert, Hathorn created the innovative Predictable Promotion System, a 10-step proprietary process she uses to coach managers aspiring to be directors, directors seeking vice presidential promotions, and VP’s eager to ascend to the C-suite. Hathorn served as a senior level executive for a Fortune 100 company for 25 years, and she has more than 30 years of experience mentoring high potentials for rapid career advancement and extraordinary success.
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