When you’re disturbed or confused – who would you go to for help? Someone with a balanced wise counsel about them or someone who is emotionally unpredictable? Nothing inspires confidence more than a calm and collected demeanor. Work on your “inside” first – the “outside” personality will take care of itself. This is in no way a prescription for you to bottle up your vulnerabilities. It’s natural to feel vulnerable and even show it – just do so in a constructive way.
You’re in your current role because of what you bring to the job, period. You’ll get promoted to the next role because you demonstrate that you’re capable of taking on and succeeding in that next position. The common baseline? Your capability! When you need heart surgery, you don’t go to the general physician – you go to the cardiac surgeon. Find your niche, and make that your own. Establish yourself as an expert in that particular area. You’ll command respect for what you bring to the table.
But do so in a way that creates a win-win outcome. As a leader, you will be called upon multiple times to address the “elephant in the room”, the real issues – yes, the ones that make everyone squirm. Remember the time you were in a meeting where it felt like it was you versus somebody else – a “you’re either with me or against me” situation? What if I told you there is – 99% of the time – a solution that can accommodate both you and your colleague’s seemingly opposing views? Identifying and managing conflicts is inescapable. A key determinant of career success is your ability to address them in a way that keeps everyone focused on the common objective and seeks a win-win outcome.
You don’t get paid or promoted to identify problems! This is something you can do NOW. Stop focusing on the problem. Every problem is an opportunity to make an impression and elevate your executive presence. Good leaders acknowledge the problem – but their focus is rooted in identifying the plan of action or solution. If you want that promotion – start adopting a “solutions” approach.
Every organisation is a social organisation, so you’ll need to work on not just your capabilities game, but also on your social game. Share what you are good at, seek help with what you are not so good at, and give credit widely. Share appreciation publicly and criticism privately. Remember, no matter how capable you are, you will have your off-days, times when you are not on top of your game – perhaps your sales numbers are off, or your project failed. These are times when you’ll need your network to provide a safety net.
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CMO & Strategy Leader