Whether you’re a recent college graduate, a middle-manager or an aspiring executive, the odds are not in your favor to be a successful senior-level executive. Why is that? The reality is that the jump between middle-management and senior-level leadership requires an uncommon skill set not possessed by most. The good news is that after you’ve identified the obstacles you’re facing you’ll be in a better position to overcome them.
The following article was written from the standpoint of things that I should be doing better if I hope to succeed. Maybe some of you will also agree that there’s always room for improvement.
Here are five reasons why you may not have what it takes to elevate from middle-management to your dream senior-level position:
- You’re not interacting like a leader. How often do you leave your office and interact with those around you? I’m not talking about your teammates or people who report directly do you. I’m talking about the people who you have nothing to gain from. Malcolm Forbes has a great quote: “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him”. Senior-level leaders are elevated by their peers (and their peer’s peers) – without their respect, you won’t go far.
How you can fix this today: Show your colleagues that you’re accessible by getting out there. Make the rounds this morning and ask how they’re doing or how their project is going.
- You’re afraid of getting into the “trenches”. All successful managers have at least one thing in common; they know the details of how their company runs. When’s the last time you shadowed one of your employees? What’s the last process you implemented to improve efficiency? Get yourself dirty and get down in the trenches – you’ll be a better manager for it. Failing to learn the intricacies of your company is also one of the 25 Things to Stop Doing Today at Work.
How you can fix this today: Don’t be afraid to identify an aspect of your company that you’re not as informed about as you’d like to be. Next, take a day to sit down with an employee in that department to listen and observe. I guarantee this experience will be enlightening and filled with several “ah ha, that’s why we do this” moments for you.
- You’re not a “numbers person”. Reaching senior-level leadership is equal parts business skills and finance skills. You need to be able to read an income statement and a balance sheet. Your excuse of “I’m just not good with numbers” is not going to cut it when you’re asked how to increase the bottom line.
How you can fix this: Step one is to get some form of training. Even a basic “Financial Accounting For Dummies” book is a great start. After you’ve grasped the key terms and concepts, take things further by taking a class at your local community college.
- You’re not identifying and cultivating talent. The sooner you realize that the talent surrounding you is an asset, not a threat, the more likely you’ll achieve success. Few individuals or companies fully embrace and maximize their talent within. As a result, talent tends to flow outward to the companies that recognize talent.
How you can fix this: Involve those with talent and potential in your decision making process. This applies if you’re asking those above you for help or teaching those below you.