Leaderly Quote: Be bold.

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Angie Gels is Chief People Officer with Everything But The House,  where she leads all aspects of EBTH’s people strategy to promote a high performing and enjoyable experience for everyone on the EBTH team.

She has a passion for helping girls and women succeed, and pioneered a Women’s Leadership Initiative at her previous position at Nielsen. Every year for five years, a selection of high potential leaders in Data Science have participated in a twelve-month, intensive leadership development program that is achieving remarkable results: Over 50% of participants are now in more senior roles.

Gels was a guest speaker in the Be Leaderly webinar series, where she spoke about the career-accelerating power of volunteering for stretch assignments and high profile projects.

The ideal stretch assignment is one that allows you to develop business and leadership skills that go beyond what you’re learning in your current “day job.” But according to Gels, one common misstep that many high performers make is accepting too many low-visibility assignments, requiring them to work overtime without gaining the benefits that a well-chosen, high-visibility assignment can offer.

So I asked Gels what emerging leaders should do prepare before taking on a stretch assignment. Here’s a summary of what she had to say about the skills and mindset it takes to volunteer for one of these career-enhancing opportunities and knock it out of the park:

1) Reflect on your interests and career goals. Negotiate assignments that align with where you want to go next in your career.

2) Accept stretch assignments that are linked to your passion, because you’ll make a bigger difference.

3) Be highly selective in what you take on, so that you’re not stretching yourself too thin.

4) Embrace a continuous learning mindset.

5) Be bold.

When you raise your hand for a stretch assignment, you’re putting yourself in a situation that requires you to deliver results while you’re acquiring new skills. To successfully execute you’ll need to be courageous, trust yourself, and take some risks.

“Be bold,” is Gels’ challenge to emerging leaders. “Push yourself and get comfortable being uncomfortable.”

Jo Miller

A leading authority on women’s leadership, Jo Miller is a sought-after, dynamic, and engaging speaker, delivering more than 70 speaking presentations annually to audiences of up to 1,200 women. Her expertise lies in helping women lead, climb, and thrive in their corporate careers. Jo has traveled widely in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and teach workshops for women’s leadership conferences, women’s professional associations, and Fortune 1000 corporate women’s initiatives. Jo is founding editor of BeLeaderly.com. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.net and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

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