WAHPETON, N.D. • In the last installment of our three-part Career Hacks series, our team is sharing the importance of positioning yourself as a leader to realize success.

A person can be recognized for their leadership qualities at any age, in any role, and at any level. Here are eight tips from the trenches that the WCCO Belting team members recommend for growing and showcasing your leadership skills:

Find a mentor: Surround yourself with people that you want to emulate, personally and

professionally. Even though your supervisor may be a great candidate, look for someone outside your chain of command. Not only is it a great opportunity to network within your own organization, but you’ll receive more candid advice and unbiased feedback.

Listen, listen, listen: In a world full of constant multitasking, listen carefully to your colleagues

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and customers. Paying attention to both verbal and nonverbal cues, or “reading the room,” will

strengthen your ability to add meaningful remarks to the discussion and help you earn a seat at the table more often.

Acknowledge others: You don’t have to be an employee’s supervisor to commend them for a job well done. Being able to identify strengths in others is a special ability of a leader. Simple and honest compliments such as, “Way to go on that project,” or, “You’re a great communicator,” will help you build meaningful connections.

Seek the solution: An answer is a response to a question. A solution is how a problem is

successfully resolved and in a way that adds value to the business. What is best for the long-term? What are the high-level impacts? Where is the gap in the process? And most importantly, what is the benefit to the customer?

Own your mistakes: Doing so doesn’t show weakness, it shows maturity. Use the situation as an opportunity to demonstrate your willingness to learn. And going back to the point above, use your solution skills to research and identify what happened and what needs to be done so it doesn’t happen again.

Think outside the hierarchy: Think beyond your role, function and department. Most new

processes or projects will require cross-functional collaboration at some point. Asking for feedback from stakeholders early and often creates buy-in that will increase your rate of success, in addition to cultivating respect and admiration from your peers.

Demonstrate leadership outside your job: Are there volunteer events within your company?

Are there opportunities for you to participate in social or wellness activities? Building connections with people in your business, as well as your industry and community, demonstrates your willingness to be present and lead.

Continually self-assess: The strongest leaders continuously self-assess, and then course correct or adapt when needed. Some questions to ask yourself as throughout your leadership journey include:

• Are you fulfilling the minimum requirements of your role? Have you addressed negative

feedback from your supervisor?

• What’s your dream career path? (And are you on it?) This could change as you try different

things and figure out what you like and don’t like.

• Where could you further excel? Take initiative, and maybe your supervisor will reward your

efforts with professional training.

• What could help you improve your weaknesses? They will change as your path adjusts to

where you excel.

The WCCO Belting team hopes through our Career Hacks series you have learned how to accelerate your career and position yourself for greatness. Good luck on your journey!

WCCO Belting is a rubber belting manufacturer based in Wahpeton, N.D.