Do you have what it takes to work your way into the corporate boardroom or win elected office for something other than, say, your HOA board?
Not everyone can honestly answer “yes” to this question. But the population of strivers capable of performing at the highest levels of a multi-tiered organization is far larger than the actual population of executives.
Perhaps you’re among its denizens. If you are, there’s a good chance you have most of these five attributes — or, failing that, the willingness to acquire them.
Competitiveness (Up to a Point)
Top executives tend to be more competitive than the average clock-puncher, but it’s crucial for them to manage and channel their competitive streaks, writes NBC contributor Danielle Page.
There’s a fine line between friendly competition and vindictiveness. No one likes a sore loser, particularly when that sore loser is the big boss.
If you’re suffering from a dearth of competitive spirit, implement a personal development strategy that boosts your competitiveness in non-destructive ways. If you’re a bit too competitiveness to sustain the collegiality necessary to run a larger organization, use the same strategies to dial back your streak.
The proverbial “up from the mailroom” story has a grain of truth, but most executives don’t start at the very bottom.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; seasoned executives like Mimran Schur Pictures co-founder David Mimran typically hold a half-dozen or more senior-level positions before earning a C-level title. It’s all about variety of experience.
Excellent Communication Skills
It goes without saying that inspirational leaders need to have excellent communication skills. Entrepreneur Jared Atchison has some tips for aspiring executives who lack the requisite confidence in their abilities to make and sustain arguments that actually move the needle.
The Ability to Articulate and Realize a Long-range Vision
True leadership isn’t (all) about managing deadlines and giving directives. In large part, it’s about creating culture, setting tone, and articulating a compelling long-range vision that subordinates feel motivated to follow.
Collectively, this is your organization’s lodestar; without it, you’re simply not going to realize the goals that you and your board desire.
The Ability to Grasp Complex Situations
Great executives don’t have to be MENSA members, but the ability to grasp complex situations is a must for anyone serious about running a large organization. Your process for synthesizing and organizing information is less important than its results — namely, that you react appropriately as facts change.
Do You Have What It Takes?
We all have moments of self-doubt. Dig deep, though, and you can surely see that you offer unique and irreplaceable value for those with whom you interact on a daily basis.
Is that enough to take you into the boardroom of a multinational corporation or into your home state’s governor’s mansion? Perhaps. That you never quite attain such heights, for whatever reason, shouldn’t be read as a verdict on whether you have what it takes to do so. Besides, you’ll touch innumerable lives along the way — and make an impact that far outlasts your career.