Many capable employees step into the corporate world and accept a junior position assuming that someday they will make it to the executive level. Working as a middle manager or business analyst, they leave no stone unturned to get a promotion. Yet, the dream of most people never come to life. They retire as a middle manager or business analyst. If you are one of the lucky ones, you may get a nice farewell party, and that is about it.
Now it prompts a straightforward question: what does it take to qualify for an executive position such as chief executive officer, chief operating officer, executive director, chief marketing officer, etc.? Well, any supervisory role comes with great responsibility. Being hardworking and honest are indeed great qualities, but you need additional skills to get considered for any of these job titles.
Let’s take a look at the following traits that are a-must to break into the executive board:
1. Ability To Forecast Events
The most dangerous aspect of running a company is that things can go against you pretty quickly. You will have to profoundly analyze certain developments around you and anticipate occurrences before they take place. In simple words, if you are wondering how to become a marketing executive, the first prerequisite for this job is to forecast marketing-related occurrences.
For example, if you are estimating an economic slump in the coming few months, you can hold back essential decisions to avoid the financial setback. Of course, your business forecasts might not always be spot on, but even if they are marginally correct, you would have something at the end of the day.
Psychology has long revealed that fear is contagious. When we see people panicking around us, our confidence gets shattered. That is precisely why an executive should always be confident. Being a higher-up, your employees look up to you for inspiration. And if you don’t seem brave enough, the same feeling will be somehow transferred to your staff.
Remember, self-confidence doesn’t develop overnight. You have to develop this quality by taking the below-outlined measures consciously:
- Stay informed: Knowledge is directly proportional to confidence. So try to catch up with everything taking place in your industry. Attending workshops, reading blogs, keeping an eye on competitions, and suchlike steps will do a world of good to uplift your confidence.
- Monitor your success: No matter how small it may be, an achievement under your belt is sure to boost your confidence. It is the hallmark mark of a smart executive to register his successes and keep driving confidence out of them. This practice is particularly helpful when the chips are down.
- Don’t be afraid of failure: The fear of failure is hands down the biggest culprit that dents our confidence. Just dive into the life accounts of successful executives; they all must have tested failure at some point during their professional journey. Therefore, you should pursue a business goal with full conviction, and if you meet failure down the road, preserve it as an essential lesson.
3. Communication Skills
The modern-day organizations are driven by technology to a large extent. Yet, human-to-human communication has not outlived its utility by any stretch of the imagination. Especially if you happen to be in the executive ranks, be it negotiating a deal, engaging with employees, or dealing with vendors, you can’t effectively indulge in the said tasks with ordinary communication skills. In worst-case scenarios, the board of directors also decided to replace any executive due to incompetent communication.
Communication skills come naturally to some people, while others have to learn them gradually. Here are a few practices that will raise your standard from a mediocre communicator to an extraordinary one:
- Understand your audience: If you are talking to a marketing person, you can’t use pompous IT jargons during the conversation. Because, belonging to a different discipline, he/she may or may not be able to crack them. The takeaway message being, you must use the language, keeping the audience in mind.
- Be a good listener: Most executives fail to realize that communication is a two-way street. You could be an excellent speaker, but without having the patience to listen to the other party thoroughly, the productive dialogue is quite unlikely.
- Make yourself available: Typically, junior employees have a general perception regarding executives are hard to reach out. Such an impression could keep them from sharing feedback and asking queries, which will have direct implications on the performance of the company. So make sure you are easily accessible to every employee at least digitally, if not physically.
Organizations tend to be very selective while hiring executives. Because they are the core policymakers who set the direction for a company, you might come from a rich academic background, but if you don’t excel at the skills mentioned above, becoming an executive could perhaps remain a distant dream for you.