Get In Line for the Next Leadership Position – Develop Your Own PlanCategory: Professional Development
Companies have a need for new executive level talent to fill the seats being vacated by retiring executives. To ensure that these vacancies are filled by qualified individuals, many companies have developed succession plans, though many have not, that are designed to promote suitable candidates within a company. There is no shortage of candidates looking to fill soon to be vacated leadership positions, but only a few will have the skills, experience and knowledge to successfully take on these roles. So if you enjoy a challenge and have a track record for bringing about results, this could be your moment.
The best individuals for the leadership pipeline are those inside the company who have maintained an objective outside view. They have an intimate knowledge of the company and the industry, but are also aware of outside forces. They do not subscribe to ideology which may hamper growth, and they’ve demonstrated success at every level and across multiple departments of the organization.
Future leaders must enhance their skills to tackle both current and future challenges. Those who have a demonstrated record of delivering excellence are sure to at least make the long list, but are by no means a shoo-in.
Skills for the future
To ensure your place on the short list, make certain that you have solid job skills for the future, as well as an understanding of how your experience, perspective, expertise, skills and knowledge make you uniquely positioned to fill the spot to which you aspire. You alone are responsible for the management of your development, so it is critical that you understand, gain and demonstrate the leadership skills required for the next level. Technical skills, professional knowledge, and expertise must be current so that you are effective and able to deliver results, but that alone is not enough to lead. Impeccable soft skills, although never the focus of professional development, are essential for successful leaders.
- Essential Soft Skills
An outstanding mix of skills and experience will always be top on the list of criteria for potential hires and promotions. But with the rapid changes in business, the expansion of workforce size and geography, and the bombardment of challenges, opportunities and pressures, soft skills carry just as much weight. Some of the most common soft skills essential for successful executives are:
Ability to work collaboratively
Ability to motivate and inspire
Ability to develop crucial relationships across all levels
Social and cultural intelligence
Adaptability and flexibility
Clarity about the most effective use of time
Problem solving and strategic thinking
Decision making and judgment
The gamut of communication skills
Honor and integrity
Results without a map
Future leaders will deal with dilemmas that have no solution, with challenges lurking at every fork in the road, during a time when there is no “normal,” no “business-as-usual.” They will be required to continue to improve processes and productivity for immediate results and develop a vision to gain or maintain a sustainable competitive advantage.
With the growing global economy, companies are faced with changes in the workforce, supply sources, and customer relationships. In our “flat” new world, there is increased competition, coupled with a greater need to collaborate with global competitors. Under these circumstances, executives covet those individuals who can present or inspire creative and innovative solutions.
An ability to influence
The most important skills required of anyone with an eye on an executive position are relationship building and the ability to influence. The ability to engage others thoughtfully and convincingly and to produce excellent results is imperative to travel the leadership pipeline successfully. To be able to communicate a vision of the future that reflects the aspirations of members of the team is another important quality. After all, all employees want to hear how their dreams will come true and their hopes and needs fulfilled.
Most companies tend to think about succession as an event, as opposed to a continuous organizational process that takes a number of years. They tend to be reactive when filling leadership positions, often filling vacated positions with the best available candidate rather than with qualified talent. If the company you work for has a leadership succession plan, get in the leadership pipeline. If it does not, develop your own plan, put the plan into action, and be prepared and well-positioned for when that opening shows up.
Start by downloading the free special report and checklist Be Your Own Career Pilot – A Career Advancement Checklist. Use the link in the upper right corner.