Leadership styles vary, and each executive role has its own set of core knowledge, skills, and abilities that are essential to that position. Still, research has identified certain traits that all senior executives need to succeed. Here is what to look for in a candidate for a key position.
Literature teaches us that there are three major types of narrative conflict: man vs. man, man vs. nature, and man vs. self. Strong business executives have an innate competitive spirit that drives them to be the best. They are never content with “good enough” in their company, their team members, or themselves.
Top executives work long hours, but they understand the need for breaks. They are selective about which opportunities they pursue, and they are committed to meaningful engagement with friends, family, and their community. They understand that success is not solely defined in the office, and they are able to make more clear headed decisions by regularly stepping back from the situation to gain perspective.
The best executives know where they are going, in both their business and their personal lives. They may not have a complete roadmap, but they are action-oriented, experimental, and always searching for the best next step.
Successful executives are bold and confident enough to make decisions with limited data. They are open to changing directions if a particular decision turns out to be wrong, but they do not sit on problems for months searching for the perfect solution. They are open to feedback from employees at all levels, but they have limited patience for complaints that are not accompanied by solutions.
Top executives know how to command a room. They are experts at building coalitions and getting others to trust and follow them. They play politics well and easily adapt to other stakeholders’ style, while maintaining their autonomy and authority. They have high expectations and may initially come across as intimidating, but they have the people skills to set others at ease. They have mentors and are often willing to mentor others.
The best executives are risk takers who learn from their mistakes. They can find valuable insight from previous challenges, and they are able to pick themselves up and keep going after a failure. They view their “scars” as badges of honor and an essential part of growth.
Top executives are extremely intelligent, learn rapidly, and think strategically. They have an innate understanding of how business works, and they can easily drill down into financial statements and monthly reports. They ask smart questions and incorporate key information. Yet they also know that people are the most important part of any organization. They manage the numbers but lead the people. They interact with customers and turn key insights into actionable strategies.
Successful executives are multi-taskers. They have short attention spans and are easily bored. They thrive on new challenges and are always looking for the next hill to climb.
While each executive role requires specific knowledge, skills, and abilities, top executives across all positions and organizations share certain innate qualities. These are the soft skills that can’t be taught, but are absolutely essential to your company’s success.
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- Posted by Stuart Glassman
- On March 14, 2019
- 0 Comments