If you’re an up-and-comer in your organisation, you might be headed in the direction of senior leadership. But do you know what challenges lie ahead, and what you’ll need in order to conquer them?
Being strategic as well as operational
Becoming a senior leader requires a completely new mindset. When you move into a senior strategic position, you will probably retain some functional responsibilities, giving you two jobs in one. For example, as Director of Marketing or Finance, you will need to oversee your specific function at the same time as working strategically with the organisation as a whole.
This will require you to wear two different hats at different times. When you are acting as strategic leader, you will need to be focused on the needs of the whole organisation and its stakeholders. In this context, you are no longer representing the views of your function, but the needs of all for the greater good. You will still need to use your specific expertise to help the top team make informed decisions, but you are no longer ‘jockeying for position’ or competing for resources and favour.
At other times, you will need to focus specifically on your team, ensuring they deliver the required results for the organisation. This involves offering the support and resources they require, while at the same time ensuring this doesn’t detract from the efforts of other functions. It’s sometimes a juggling act, but thinking about which ‘hat’ you are wearing invariably helps.
Developing key leadership skills
Many of the skills required in your new role are those you will already have already been honing in previous leadership roles: communication, team leadership, planning, objective-setting, monitoring, giving feedback, coaching, and many more. These will continue to be significant throughout your career.
Other skills, on the other hand, may be less familiar. Strategic planning will be crucial as a senior leader, requiring the ability to look further ahead and make decisions about organisational objectives, direction and development.
Critical thinking will also be essential, involving the capacity to differentiate between fact and opinion, to discern and validate assumptions, and to avoid prejudice or bias.
The ability to inspire is another key senior leadership skill. In your new role, you will need to be able to use your experience to encourage and develop others, and to shape their behaviours and attitudes. You will need to use inspirational communication to engage others with stories and a compelling vision of the way ahead that creates real motivation.
The challenges of becoming a senior leader will be covered in more depth in a webinar on the 3rd November. You can also request a recording if you can attend the live session. Find out more and sign up here.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Becoming a Senior Leader: Have You Got What It Takes?
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