Ever wonder how all those popular people back in high school managed to work their magic on the masses? You know the ones I'm talking about. They were always at the center of their circle of friends. If there was a party, they usually planned it, or at the very least such festive gatherings weren't considered complete without them. They were also the ones everyone came to for advice. In short, they were the cool people, the seemingly natural leaders who couldn't help but attract a following.
Lest you think we're just talking about the high society folks, a quick trip down memory lane will remind you that there were people like this in every social circle. No matter which crowd you ran with, there were a few people who everyone admired and wanted to hang out with.
It's easy to chalk it up to that magical, mysterious thing known as charisma. The bad part about such a perspective is that it draws the conclusion that you either have it or you don't. In the latter case, there's no toll free number with operators standing by to help you. You're just a mere mortal, and the universe politely suggests that you just learn to live with it.
With our high school years behind us, we enter the workplace to discover that, sure enough, we continue to encounter these folks. No matter what you do for a living or what part of the company you call home, a quick peek around the corner shows that at the water cooler, in the meeting rooms, and throughout the day to day workplace interactions, the cool people still hold court. To make matters even worse, they usually have better jobs and make more money than we do. We might even be tempted to hate them if they weren't so darned lovable.
However, for those of us who still dream of better jobs, enjoyable workdays and more money, there's hope. Without a doubt, some people are just born with an overdose of charisma. The rest of us have to learn to play guitar and hope we look good in black leather. Nonetheless, these great social leaders of our past and present do have a secret to success and status that I procured, at great personal risk I might add, back in my high school days. Hey, it's not my fault they didn't have locks on their lockers.
Like many of the great secrets of the universe, it seems terribly obvious the moment you consider it. See a better life for the people around you, and be passionate about making it happen. As you demonstrate to people on a daily basis that you really care about improving their situation, even if you don't always have the immediate solutions, you'll be amazed at the response.
Because most people on the job tend to think only of themselves, right off the bat you're going to be noticed. If you look around your workplace, see the problems that people have, and try to do something about it, you won't always succeed. However, the more you try, the more you'll achieve. Before you know it, you'll find that you're the one people are looking to for the next step. That makes you a leader, whether it's your title or not.
Additionally, if you work to solve problems in a way that also benefits your company, it does two things. It strengthens your organization, thus improving your personal job security, and it creates a better life for your superiors because you make them look good. These are also the people in a position to reward your efforts. Best of all, everybody wins, which builds relationships that last.
People don't follow titles. They follow leaders. When you choose to make other people a priority, that's what you become, and you make a difference. Not only for others, but for your company and your career.