Dear Lakrisha,

May I please get your help on an issue?

It’s coming up on 5 years since I’ve been working in my current position, and I’m ready to make a transition within the company.

I’ve made it known to my bosses that I desire to move up. But, every time we have this conversation, they make it clear that they see my value and appreciate my hard work; however, they do not feel like I’m ‘ready’ to be a leader. As evidence that they appreciate my contributions (I suppose), they make offers for me to change positions, but these are all considered lateral moves.

When I ask for feedback, I get responses that I don’t feel are very authentic or transparent.

I really feel that either they are taking advantage of me, or don’t appreciate me as much as they say.

My hard work should speak for itself, and I deserve a management position.

Lakrisha – how can I get them to see my potential?

Sincerely, Erica



Thank you so much for writing me.

I think you are right in that your leaders are not being very transparent with you. It could be that they have concerns about how their feedback may affect your job performance and morale, or that you’ll seek employment elsewhere.

Perhaps, your employer wants to see more out of you from a leadership standpoint. It could be they’re either expecting you to get it together on your own – or it isn’t the environment you’re meant to flourish in. Either way, I want to explore the term ‘leadership’ a bit more.

Being a leader comes with additional responsibilities, so it takes more than just someone who’s an expert in each field to do the job. With an innate talent to persuade others into believing in them, the most effective leaders can easily get people on board to help fulfill their visions.

Leadership skills and styles often vary, but having the ability to inspire others is one quality all leaders must possess. Some people are born leaders while others are not. But, speaking in a behavioral sense, leadership is attainable for anyone.

Warmest regards,



9 Ways to Make Your Company See the Leader In You:

1. Speak up about wanting to move up. There’s never really any harm in asking for what it is that you want. Sometimes, it's a case of management not knowing that you want it, so perhaps it’s about time for you to make your career goals more apparent to your boss. Practice using your professional setting to seek counsel and stress your interest in advancement instead of seeking these answers from other coworkers or friends, as this could only cause further frustration. Maybe you will get what you want, or you could get shut down. However, one thing’s for certain is you’ll never know unless you ask.

2. Be a catalyst change agent in the organization. Business climates are constantly evolving, and with that comes the responsibility for its employees to learn how to adapt to these circumstances. Leaders must be able to view change rather positively. Knowing that some things will not be within their control, good leaders adjust to the direction in which the organization heads—even if they don’t necessarily agree with the change.

3. Be a team player. I can’t think of a single leader who “did it all by herself,” so being stingy with your ideas and knowledge only works against you. Leaders help their colleagues instead of stepping on them in their climb up the ladder.

4. Keep your emotions in check and show communication skills. You should be upfront about your emotions if you’re not feeling happy about something and address those feelings right away. But whatever you do, just refrain from acting out those feelings in a passive aggressive way. You don’t want to be the person who takes things personally all the time or proves difficult to communicate with. In a professional environment, people may not feel as apt to forgive you for such behavior as someone who truly knows you and how you deal with your emotions. In fact, they may start avoiding you altogether.

5. Establish a good rapport with your leaders. By developing a mentoring relationship with the organization’s current leaders, you can seek counsel about what it is you need to do to increase your performance to eventually join their team.

6. Challenge your leader. Surprisingly, leaders do enjoy a good challenge. So, make sure you’re defending your work, but doing it with humility and inquisition as not to come off combative. If you’re going to give your boss some challenge, make sure that you are coachable as well – because the last thing you want to do is come off as a know-it-all. You don’t ever want them feeling apprehensive to approach you because you just get so offended, even when they’re totally in the right.

7. Diversify your skillset to create your own opportunities. One surefire way to NOT be a leader is by taking the approach that ‘you don’t get paid enough’ to go above and beyond the job description.

8. Impact the bottom-line. By making a significant impact on their clients, you can really wow your leaders. To show leadership, you should take the initiative to help the clients solve their problems without having to be told what to do every step of the way.

9. Avoid Office Politics and Gossip. Individuals who can rise above the temptations stand out the most as they come off as the fairest to others in management roles.

Even if you don't wind up getting what you want now, it stands as good practice so that next time, there won't be any doubts about your leadership abilities.

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