Feb 23 2014
Has anyone ever told you that you are a natural-born leader? Don’t worry if no one has—most people have to learn the skills needed to be an effective leader. As you know, learning leadership skills can propel you farther in your career, whether it is through internal promotions, increased salary or more opportunities for higher level positions when conducting a new executive job search.
Some say you have to start with a generous dose of self-confidence and charisma to be a leader. Whether you agree with that or not, one thing is true; leadership is a skill and can be developed if you don’t already possess those innate qualities.
Here are nine principles of executive leadership that you can use to further develop your executive job search strategy.
1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement In order to know yourself, you have to understand your attributes. Seeking self-improvement means continually strengthening your attributes. Yes, even executives need to engage in continuing professional development.
Executives in career transition: Know yourself, the skills and values you can bring to a new organization and what skills you want or need to develop.
2. Be technically proficient As a leader, it is imperative that you keep up with technology. Gone are the days that your ‘secretary’ would handle all the techie parts that impact your role.
Executives in career transition: You have added value if you are technically savvy in programs and applications that are critical to your industry.
3. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions Search for ways to guide your organization to new heights. And when things go wrong, and they will sooner or later – do not blame others. Analyze the situation, take corrective action and move on to the next challenge.
Executives in career transition: Showing that you have been promoted within a company or have taken on added responsibilities shows a prospective employer growth and ability to take on new challenges.
4. Make sound and timely decisions Use good problem solving, decision- making, and planning tools.
Executives in career transition: Just like in any job, consider your job search as important as when you’re making on-the-job decisions and planning your next career move.
5. Set the example Be a good role model for others. They must not only hear what they are expected to do, but also see it demonstrated. “We must become the change we want to see.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Executives in career transition: If you don’t have one, seek out a role model to connect with during your job search for support, guidance and networking.
6. Know your coworkers and look out for their well-being Know human nature and the importance of sincerely caring for others.
Executives in career transition: If you have built a network of former coworkers, bosses and peers, this is a good time to reach out to them to network; and be sure to do the same for those you can assist with their job search efforts.
7. Keep your team informed Communicate with not only your team, but also other key employees.
Executives in career transition: Do you have a team of people who are supporting you during your career change? This could be an executive recruiter or hiring manager, a former coworker or boss or your extended network. Whoever they may be, keep lines of communication open. You never know when you can help them, and they can help you.
8. Develop a sense of responsibility in your team Help to develop good character traits that will help them carry out their professional responsibilities.
Executives in career transition: The parallel here is that you as the job seeker need to keep a professional hat on when sending out resumes, interviewing, negotiating salary and accepting offers. The responsibility is all yours in any situation during the process of a career change.
9. Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised and accomplished Communication is the key to this responsibility.
Executives in career transition: If a recruiter asks you to submit your resume or follow up with an interviewer, don’t hesitate - act immediately. And if you don’t understand a process or next step, ask so that you have a clear direction to move forward.
What makes a hiring manager want to hire an executive leader? All of the attributes above and more. People want to be led by those they respect and who have a clear sense of direction. A sense of direction is achieved by conveying a strong vision of the future. Your career action plan should have a strong vision of the path you want to follow or forge a new one.