Succeeding to Leadership
As I work with Leadership and help build Leadership pipelines, I am realizing that ascending the ladder has a lot more to do with acquiring brand new skills than acquiring years of experience. And, of all these, I have run across one competence which is proving to be difficult to acquire and equally difficult to train.
This relates to the competence required to operate as part of the Management Committee or Top Leadership Team or Board.
The game that is played at this level is very different. And what is needed of an individual is:
Razor sharp sensing
Very thick skin
Thinking on your feet
Thinking on your feet under fire!
Ability to bounce back quickly after failure
Networking and Relationship management – The art of alliances
Willingness and ability to compromise without taking it personally
Taking things personally but delaying the gratification of vengeance!
The art of managing the outcome of the meeting BEFORE the meeting
Most managers I work with are at sea when it comes to making this transition. There is no training program that fits this bill. None of the top B-schools have this on their ExecEd curriculum.
Those managers who’re lucky enough to find a mentor are the ones who manage to find some success in this minefield. Not all of them succeed. Many fail. Almost all learn as a result of hit and miss. Most of them as a result, take a good 6-12 months before they settle down. They focus on proceeding cautiously, placing one foot ahead of the other with great care. And they still lose a leg once in a while!
What are your experiences? What can you add to this list?