I was amazed when I got Jennifer’s email. Jennifer, a high level senior director in a company , was looking to be promoted. I was coaching her on what she needed to do in order to demonstrate leadership at the next level.
She had a few glaring issues that she didn’t even see as important.
I am going to share them with you now so you don’t make the same mistakes.
1. You are always on. Jennifer thought that emails were suppose to be written fast and demonstrate your ability to quickly resolve issues. So Jennifer typed in all lower case letters-even the word “I” was done as “i”. As a leader you are always on so make sure your emails, memos, and presentation of your thoughts is consistent all the time.
2. Ask more than tell. Great leaders ask great questions. They are always probing to get the right information in the right way so they can make well informed decisions. Watch in a week how much you tell others what to do and how much you draw out the knowledge in others. You don’t have to have the most knowledge to be the best leader but you do have to know how to access knowledge when you need it.
3. Balance counts. A really good leader who is ready to be promoted to the next level is rarely the last one there with their light on. Each time you are the last one there you are telling the top executives that you are at that threshold of what you can handle. The top executives we work with find that they are able to reduce their work time by over 25% WHILE INCREASING how much they are able to get done. Be more efficient by blocking off time to think ahead of projects instead of just being reactive to events.
In order to move ahead you have to look, not at your performance to date, but to how your performance aligns with the next level up. Operate at that strategic level today and when the next opening comes up you will naturally come to mind.