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How have you prepared for that big promotion?

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Added 27th February 2020 06:12 AM

You may be a great production manager, finance director or head of operations. But you could have spent your working life looking down at detail because that is what your boss expected from you.

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You may be a great production manager, finance director or head of operations. But you could have spent your working life looking down at detail because that is what your boss expected from you.

 Chris Harrison, Marketer

It is never too soon to begin thinking about the future of your career, especially if you intend to lead a business one day.

But, surprisingly, few people take time to consider the skills they will need when they become the chief executive officer.

This is a  pity because the knowledge and experiences that carry you to the doorstep of a senior opportunity are going to be vocational-specific or discipline-specific.

You may be a  great production manager, finance director or head of operations. But you could have spent your working life looking down at detail because that is what your boss expected from you. 

But when he or she is no longer there, looking up for the first time can be a daunting experience. It is a little like reaching the edge of a ship and seeing reality as it is,  rather than the circumstances you imagined from the comfort of the engine room. 

So, it makes sense to develop a  broader perspective long before your name is flagged for promotion.  Taking an interest in the business results; understanding competitor positioning; assessing the strengths and weaknesses of company culture.

 You will also need to develop your leadership attributes. These cannot be taught, but they can be encouraged through appropriate mentoring. 

Gwen Moran is a business writer who has been awarded for influencing small businesses, but what she says about leadership attributes applies to emerge seniors in major corporates too.  She highlights risk tolerance as essential.

The ability to take calculated decisions and live with the outcomes. “Not taking risks is the most dangerous thing to do on the way to the top,” she says. To grow, you must take up stretch assignments and try new approaches. That may include leaving a “safe” job and taking on new roles in other companies. 

Moran encourages the development of vision, the ability to see beyond daily crises and keep long-term goals in mind. To which  she adds dependability, “when  you say you’ll do something, you  do it.” 

Dependability is an essential component of trust, often a  missing element in the relationship between immature leaders and staff.  To these two, I would add the importance of developing your personal brand: guiding the way you will engage others with impact.

Lately, I spend some time writing personal brand promises for leaders. Recording key elements of their brand on a single sheet of paper help them behave in a consistent manner and remain true to the vision they have set for themselves.

A personal brand summary should acknowledge the success you have earned already,  and the learnings you must take forward     Chris Harrison leads The  Brand Inside.  To comment on this article,  send a Tweet to harrisoncj on  www.twitter.com or chat with  him on LinkedIn      

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