You just landed a senior role at a brand new company, or finally got the promotion you’ve been working towards for years – congratulations!
Now is the perfect time to regroup and start thinking about ways to build your capital as a leader within the company. But where should you start? And more importantly, what skills do you need to master at this level and in this role?
As CEO of IMPACT Group, a global leader in employee career development, we work with business leaders to answer these questions every day. Recently we developed a Women in Leadership program designed for high-potential managers who want to accelerate their trajectory as corporate leaders. Lack of skills is not the reason women are underrepresented in leadership roles, but being heard and having their ideas accepted are roadblocks many women face – especially women in male-dominated industries. So we’ve identified three key areas that are critical to helping women leaders excel, but that we also believe are universal to success in the corporate world.
3 Ways Leaders Can Win Company-Wide Support
1 – Personal Effectiveness
- Do a great job at your day job! Sounds simple, but meeting and exceeding expectations goes a long way to building your personal leadership brand.
- Do what you say you will do. Another foundational piece, but without a high-level of integrity and dependability there is no room to grow or lead.
- Over-communicate with your team and your boss when managing projects. Make sure everyone is clear on expectations to ensure maximum opportunity for success.
- Always stick to deadlines. And if you might not meet a deadline, do your best to manage expectations. If you don’t set this precedent up front, it can create a domino effect within your team and your organization.
2 – Build Corporate Visibility
- Think about your “personal brand.” How do you want to be known in the organization? What behaviors do you need to adopt or change to build this into your persona?
- Keep a running list of your accomplishments. When the opportunity arises, you’ll be able to share them more readily this way whether in a conversation with higher-ups or when performance appraisal time comes around.
- Invite an executive to lunch. This might be considered a political challenge in some companies, so make sure to tread carefully here. Yes, executives are very busy people, but it is rare for top leaders to be invited out to lunch or for a career conversation by people lower down in the organization. Most executives are delighted to get to know high-caliber people at all levels.
3 – Build Business Acumen
- Learn more about the global competitive marketplace by reading trade journals, connecting with customers and asking pointed questions of company leadership.
- Seek out training opportunities (company sponsored or otherwise) to learn more about finance, operations, marketing, etc. in your industry.
- Request informational interviews or start casual conversations with operational and financial leaders. Learning specifics on key value drivers and how the company makes money will provide a competitive advantage in your career.
As a member of The Committee of 200 (C200), a group of the world’s top female entrepreneurs and executives, I have met women who have mastered these and other key skills and shot straight to the C-Suite. In other cases, these accomplished members have also created a latticework of a career, sometimes moving up, across and even down in order to pave their unique path. Still, other members have opted to hop off the traditional corporate path to strike out on their own and achieved monumental success. But whatever twists and turns your career may take, I have learned through my work at IMPACT Group and my fellow C200 members that focusing on your integrity and personal effectiveness, raising your visibility in your company and community and continuing to build your business acumen will be critical to achieving excellence in business.