Do you want to be a leader in a paid leadership position? First, say “yes” to unpaid leadership positions and try your wings as a leader. Non-profits, civic organizations and professional associations depend on volunteers. Do not wait to be asked, volunteer. If you are fortunate enough to be asked by an officer or a senior administrator to lead an initiative or serve with others, say, “yes.”

Are you a new employee who wants to move up in the organization? Seek out the leaders of major HR initiatives that serve the company. Volunteer to be on a committee that makes a difference for you and for other employees. A willing worker for any initiative is always welcome.

Are you a seasoned employee who has complaints about the company or the organization? Find out who is responsible for making changes and tell them you are willing to work on making your company, school, or organization better.

Do you want to be recognized for your leadership skills? Say “yes” to leadership opportunities, but saying “yes” is insufficient. Perform the tasks you are assigned exceedingly well, whether you are the committee chair or a committee member. Come prepared to the meetings, contribute ideas, and support the team. When the report is written, the event occurs, or the change in policies happens, others will take note of the difference you made.

Each of these experiences become confidence-builders for you as a leader. Others begin to perceive you as someone with leadership potential. The first step is to say, “Yes” to a leadership opportunity and perform your role exceedingly well. With new confidence, when the paid leadership position becomes open, apply. Do not wait to be asked. Identify yourself as a leader.