How to establish yourself as the leader in a new job
How to establish yourself as the leader in a new job Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Getting a new job is exciting. The prospects that come with making a fresh start or getting a chance to grow both career-wise and personally are tremendous. It is also exciting because there seem to be endless opportunities for development and re-invention. These opportunities can include setting oneself up for a leadership role or establishing oneself as a new leader as part of the new job.

Becoming a leader

So how does one go about establishing themselves as the leader in a new job? Here are a few tips to help smooth out the process and ensure you stand out from the crowd.

Change of mindset

It all begins in the mind. How a person views themselves will determine how others view them. If someone goes in feeling like an outsider, a mess, a loser and a follower, then guess what? It will be hard to convince others to see them any differently. Leadership is not just about titles and character traits, but also about mindset.

Descartes famously said, "Cogito, ergo sum," which means, "I think therefore I am." He crafted this statement to suggest he could not doubt his existence because he was doing the doubting. The idea has evolved to mean that someone becomes who they think they are. Kill doubt and embrace self-confidence, and watch as the world aligns with these views.

Master the art of communication


Business etiquette teaches how to communicate, which is a course any working person should take, but more so aspiring business leaders. Communication is the key to getting people to share the vision and beliefs one has at any given point.

Good communication skills give the communicator confidence, and also ensure nothing is lost. Connecting with the new team through effective communication will help gain their trust, and leadership is all about trust.


Whenever someone takes on a new role, especially a leadership one, they suffer the temptation to be bossy, condescending, critical and overbearing. Don't fall for that temptation. This move only establishes tyrants, not leaders.

To gain authority, one must be willing and ready to build trust. Instead of bossiness, try gentle and clear explanations when something needs to be done. Use an approachable tone, but don't stoop to condescending or infantilizing talk. Treat the team with the respect they deserve and leave room for mistakes to be made.


A leader may work as an overseer, but that does not mean they lack expertise. Having mastery in a specific sector and in-depth knowledge establishes them as the "go-to-guy." Leadership should not be the only skill a leader has.


Confidence is the key to leadership. People are drawn to confidence, not just in a social setting, but in the workplace too. They want to be around people who know who they are and what they want.

Life is uncertain, but a leader cannot let that uncertainty reflect in them, their work, or their decisions. Confidence and an air of self-assurance will go a long way in establishing leadership in a new job.

One step at a time

There is no need to rush; no one can get it all done now. Learn to prioritize tasks and do them in the order of most important first. Learn to take breaks when needed. Show people that things can be paced and reworked to avoid fatigue and burnout. Employees will be appreciative of the pacing and more willing to work.

Be a willing student

No one likes a know-it-all, especially when the know-it-all is a new employee. Take time to learn the systems, the procedures, the work culture and the people. Even if the tasks are things that have been mastered long ago, the environment is different. Be willing to ask for help when stuck or when clarification is needed.



A leader is one who is willing to listen to others. This ties into the communication tip above. Don't try to be heard, but try to understand. Take other people's ideas, considerations and opinions seriously. Brushing off the team is a sure way to earn their disrespect.

Serve others

To truly lead, one must serve. Nothing is beneath anyone; help Sam open the door, get coffee for Tom, assist Judy up the stairs, offer Tina some lunch and so on. People respect those who are selfless and giving, and leaders should be respected. Serving the team is the fastest way to gain their respect.

In the end

Establishing oneself as a leader can be a seamless and drama-free process with these nine tips. Remember that charm works like a dream, so every now and then, go on the charm offensive. Be sincere and apply these tips with integrity and genuineness. Don't forget that everything is a process, and good things come to those who work and wait.