Not all leaders aspire to the executive level, but lots of them do. And some aim even higher. People want to reach the C-suite for lots of reasons—because it suits their temperament and skills, because they see it as the apex of success, because they believe that’s where they can do the most good… the reasons are too varied to list.
Whatever your motivation, if you’re among those who aim for the highest positions you need to know that it’s not going to happen on its own. You can take your career pretty far by doing a great job and waiting to be noticed, but the path narrows significantly at the top, and you have to demonstrate strategic planning and bold action if you want to move into the C-suite. As an executive leadership coach, I know, these are the ways you can navigate yourself to the top:
Create a roadmap. Write yourself a strong strategic plan, just as you would for workplace planning. Set goals and measurable objectives and a timeline.
Keep learning. Education doesn’t end when you graduate. Be a lifelong student, whether it’s through formal study or learning on your own.
Network constantly. You can be the most qualified and best educated person for miles around, but if you’re not out there leveraging every resource and relationship, your success will be limited. Learn to make the most of your network.
Go the extra mile. In everything you do, work harder than most. Put in the hours and the effort. Work harder and longer to stand out from the crowd. Build a reputation as someone who gets things done and done well.
Mind your mindset. Develop an attitude of fortitude and resilience— resolve that no matter what comes your way, you will find a way make it work. In a world filled with negativity, one of the best ways to stand out is a positive attitude.
Become a valued resource. Be known as someone useful, someone who adds value to any undertaking. Be generous with your time, help, and support.
Exceed expectations. Don’t allow anyone, ever, to define who and what you can accomplish. When others try to hold you back with low expectations and biased thinking, show them you are limitless.
Look the part. If you want to climb the organizational ladder, look the part. As the saying goes, dress for the job you want, not the one you have.
Make your boss look good. Aligning yourself with your boss’s efforts and goals and do everything you can to help them be successful.
Sharpen your leadership skills. Practice leadership wherever you are, take classes, read books and online resources, find a mentor. Do whatever it takes to make sure your skills are at their best.
Be appreciative. Recognize others and appreciate them for who they are. When you make it to the top they’ll all be cheering for you.
Lead from within: Being promoted to the top isn’t just about luck or power. It takes a plan, networking, experience, and the right skills and attitude.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: iStock Photo
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.