Brian knew his company would soon do a round of layoffs. His natural reaction was to put his head down, do his work and hope no one would notice him. Biggest possible mistake!

Consider the message people send when they hide their heads in the sand. Does it suggest that person is a real team player – someone who really cares about the long-term success of the company? Or does it suggest he or she is looking out only for No. 1?

The following are three steps he took, which ultimately landed him a promotion while everyone else got pink slips.

  1. Do your research. Brian knew he needed to understand both this company and the marketplace – and he needed to do so quickly. He used Google to keep up on what was going on and began asking managers lots of questions to gain a sense of where the company was headed. This demonstrated his initiative and desire to lead and help others, putting him in the perfect position when the opportunity opened up.
  2. Stand up. Demonstrate your commitment through your words and actions. Come in early and leave late if need be. Get outside your comfort zone and look for ways you can help. Brian suddenly understood the importance of building relationships. As a computer programmer, sales and business development were not in his job description – but he did them anyway. Especially in tough economic times, employers are much more likely to keep revenue-generating employees. Think about how you can contribute above and beyond the call of duty.
  3. Have a good attitude. People appreciate spending time with others who are upbeat and positive, especially when the news and business world are so dismal. Start every day with an attitude of gratitude – list the many blessings you DO have and say “thanks” whenever you can. Improving your colleagues’ morale will get you noticed – and make you both feel better about your work situation.

Use the economy as your opportunity to strengthen your wings rather than drop like a fly. We need leaders now more than ever – you know, the type who put their focus and energy on developing others. Leadership is a commitment to something and someone(s). What’s yours?