One of the ways of making sure you climb the corporate ladder and create a fulfilling career being an invaluable asset to your current and future employers. By setting yourself apart from your peers and being known for something different, you can make yourself an asset to any company.

DESTINY spoke to Hope Lukoto, a Johannesburg-based Organisational Consultant with 16 years’ experience, who says it is important for everyone – even those who are not in obvious leadership roles – to show leadership and speak out at work.

“Even if you are not going to be a leader, it shows independence, strong will and that you don’t shy away from conflict,” she says.

Businesses want to hire somebody who is able to stand up for their principles and is going to be able to achieve their goals and not be bullied or become a wallflower.

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While it might be easier for extroverts to stand out because of their exuberant personalities, everyone, including introverts, can show leadership.

“Even if people are introverted, when they truly believe in something, they stand up for it. They will fight it tooth and nail – it is in the how,” she explains.

The difference is in the approach. There is no clear-cut way to show leadership. However, being principled and excellent at your job, taking initiative and speaking out against things that are not positive for the company are some ways to do so.

In some companies, speaking out can put a target on your back and make you vulnerable. Emotional intelligence and being able to read the moment is important in knowing how to create a strategy that suits your particular environment.

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“It’s important to suss out the environment, to know what works in that environment and and what gets listened to. Then you know how to tailor your message such that it is well-received,” Lukoto explains.

Having tact and and timing will also ensure that you don’t step on too many toes and cause offence by standing up for what you believe in. “There are some times when you really want to say: ‘There was that one thing that went down that was very wrong.’ You can’t say it on the day, but later, when the manager is feeling less vulnerable, you can mention it,” says Lukoto.

Instead of making things personal, it is better to make sure that people don’t fell threatened. Ensuring that the message is delivered in such a way that the person receiving it does not feel like they are being belittled will go a long way in ensuring that you get your message across.

“Its also important [that you are] not stuck on being right, rather on getting the thing done. Even if somebody else takes the accolades for it, be happy that it got done,” she suggests.