Corner offices of the best companies in the world are without doubt among the most coveted jobs. It takes years of hard work, planning, learning, and observing to finally get to the top rung.
Getting a C-level job is very tough, and you have to prove your worth in a sustained, compelling and outstanding manner to be considered. They are not for everyone. It is inevitable that you have to build your personal brand and grow in stature to fill the big boots. So, how exactly do you go about it?
What are the traits that CEOs, employees, and investors look for in their C-level leaders?
In addition to having a deep, multi-dimensional and intuitive understanding of the company and its sector, leaders are also required to inspire, motivate, and invigorate all those who look up to them. We all know that age is not relevant any more when the top jobs are up for grabs. If you have proved your mettle and managed to make an impact during your career, no matter how long or short it has been, you are likely to be invited to discuss such a role.
What are the other things that you must necessarily and positively do on your way to the C-suite?
Manage Crisis Effectively
The best leaders are the ones who manage to keep the ship afloat during turbulent times. Crisis management is not easy and calls for a cool and calm head. If you have something in your resume that shows your excellent risk assessment and troubleshooting skills, you have a good chance from the word go.
The most revered leaders are those who have managed to turn around the fortunes of their companies and conglomerates. If you are put in charge of turning around a department or a company, especially early on in your career, then take it and use it as an opportunity to prove your worth in no uncertain manner.
The learning, confidence, and self-awareness that you attain from dealing with a terribly difficult situation will be immense. You need to motivate the team members, uplift their sagging morale, rally them together as a cohesive unit, and help them to drive better results. There are no better traits that denote a true leader, so skip the comfortable, cushy postings and quickly spice up your resume with some really challenging roles.
Be a Strong Communicator
An effective communicator will be able to get his message across clearly and powerfully to all stakeholders.
There should be no ambiguity in letting your team know what is expected of them and how you will be able to support them. Setting clear standards help teams to work together towards success.
Communication is key to keeping your team in the loop regarding the achievements and victories of the organization. They need to be updated on the changes and improvements occurring in their workplace. Many bosses use an upbeat flow of messages to keep the momentum going in their respective companies. Good news always instills positivity and optimism.
Great leaders also communicate with everyone, not just the managers reporting to them. Make it a point to connect with everyone on your team and enable open channels of communication with a free flow of ideas. If your team believes in you, very soon you will find your words, ideas, and vision resonating in your department or organization.
Naturally, that will make your CEO sit up and take notice.
Do Not Buckle under Pressure
As the climb gets steeper, the pressure is bound to rise.
Never let your team know that the pressure is getting to you. Do not lose your cool, no shouting at subordinates, and no blame-game when in your CEO’s presence. No hiring and firing in the heat of the moment.
High pressure situations and killer deadlines ask for immediate action, quick responses, and on-the-spot decisions. You need to take charge, be in control, communicate constantly, and update your board of directors or senior management about progress being made.
Be graceful and do not forget to share credit when the job is done.
Your calm demeanor is bound to earn you brownie points.
Be a Good Team Player
Collaboration should be developed throughout your career and becomes invaluable as you shoulder bigger responsibilities at work. As a vertical head, you may be required to work with the other execs. Ensure you get along well, contribute, and connect effectively.
Your ability to drive performance and improve results by collaborating across functions will make the powers that be sit up and take notice of you.
As a C-suite occupant, you will have to mesh together warring egos, incompatible tempers, and conflicting opinions. The earlier you prove to be good at this, the better your chances of landing the coveted calling card.
The value of hard work simply cannot be overstated. You need not sacrifice your family vacations and forget all about long weekends, but something just short of that is expected of all leaders of Fortune 500 companies.
With meetings to attend, teams to mentor, and various crises to handle, you are left with very little time to do your job. Client calls and presentations may very well disrupt your sleep and reduce time with your son, but in the high-stakes game you are playing, sacrifices are unfortunately inevitable.
Enjoy Your Role
Enjoy your responsibilities and powers. You are in a position where you have to guide, help, and get involved with a lot of people. Your time is of utmost value, and a large amount of time it is spent working on others. If you do not enjoy your job and being accountable for the hundreds, if not the thousands on your team, you may very well need to reconsider the challenge you have chosen. It’s not for everyone.
Neither you nor the company you lead can afford to age. Stay young at heart. Find time to travel and remain on top of technological developments. Enjoy the fleeting fads that happen, and know what is hot and what is not.
Enjoy all the attention that is bound to come your way – while simultaneously investing positively in substantive professional and personal relationships. This will help you stay grounded and in touch with the ‘normal’ life around you.
Realize that money contributes to a very small portion of your happiness; there is not much connection between both.
Getting to the C-suites of the best companies in the world demands hard work and calculated nurturing of all the desirable qualities of a leader. Very few are born leaders, yet many of us can get there by the sheer power of our determination.
Author: Joshua Geary is a writer and experienced blogger and regularly writes for csi-executivesearch.com. When he’s not writing about HR and hiring process about executives, Joshua enjoys reading, CrossFit and swimming in his leisure time.