Are you aiming for the C-suite? Or perhaps your firm needs to groom execs for the corner office? Here are five learning priorities, plus tips, suitable both for professionals who want to reach the corner office and for learning officers and HR pros looking to prepare their next C-suite occupants.
1. Become a people leader
The ability to motivate teams and guide them towards as hared vision is key to reaching the top. You’ll need to adopt a leadership mindset! Also:
- Be real. Authenticity builds trust and loyalty.
- Create opportunities for employees to develop their strengths.
- Voice your appreciation of team members frequently.
- Manage your own emotions, so you handle office dynamics skillfully.
- Be responsive to employee needs.
- Show compassion when employees are under stress.
- Invite and reward collaboration and innovation.
2. Hone your communication skills
The ability to articulate a clear vision, influence others, build cohesive teams and create buy-in for a shared mission is critical to success.
TIP: Keep in mind that the best communicators use active listening to gain valuable insights, build trust and facilitate open dialogue.
- Make your core values a touchstone of your communications.
- Listen more than you talk.
- Focus fully on the person speaking, instead of thinking about what you will say.
- Be genuinely curious about others.
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Be attuned to your own emotions and those of others.
3. Learn to think strategically
Most rising executives need to spend less time on execution and more on big picture issues, like setting company direction and vision, looking for market opportunities, identifying potential pitfalls and facilitating creative solutions.
This is a shift that involves leaving behind old ways of doing things and developing new habits.
- Set aside time for thinking deeply about big picture issues.
- Surround yourself with people who have different perspectives.
- Challenge your own assumptions. Invite others to challenge your thinking.
- Collaborate across boundaries.
- Be disciplined about how you use your time. Don’t get bogged down in operational tasks, unnecessary meetings, etc.
4. Build a network of strong relationships
Successful C-suite executives leverage networks and alliances to help them overcome challenges and open new doors. Along the way they’re building a personal brand.
- Connect with peers, business partners, industry experts and higher-ups who can provide support, knowledge and guidance.
- Before reaching out to a new contact, do your homework about them.
- Offer yourself as a resource or support, so the connection isn’t all about you.
- Cultivate connections across boundaries – with people of different generations, social groups, genders, etc.,as well as up and down the organization.
- Build relationships both online and in person.
- Always show your gratitude to individuals who support you.
5. Be a lifelong learner
Because of ever-changing business conditions, business leaders must commit to their own continuous learning. Those leaders who succeed stay relevant by embracing obstacles as opportunities for growth.
- Seek out feedback regularly to identify your learning needs and skills gaps.
- Set goals and create a learning plan of action.
- Try things outside your comfort zone.
- Develop a relationship with an executive coach, leadership coach or a trusted mentor who will provide feedback, insights, support and accountability.
No matter who you are, you will encounter obstacles on your way to the top. Fortunately, you don’t need to go it alone. At The Workplace Coach, we’ve partnered with thousands of upwardly mobile executives, providing support, insights and accountability so they maximize your potential and reach their goals faster.
If you’ve got your sights set on the C-Suite, The WorkplaceCoach will help you get there faster.
ABOUT THE WORKPLACE COACH: We have deep expertise in business leadership. For more than two decades, our award-winning coaches have partnered with executive and leadership coaching clients and organizations to help them achieve their strategic goals. Our leadership coaching clients report success in developing their leadership mindset and executive presence and in using leader-as-coach tools to drive higher employee engagement and productivity.
The Workplace Coach will help you reach the C-suite faster. Ready to get started? Download your FREE LeadershipDevelopment Plan today.