Q. I have just been promoted to an executive leadership role. This has been my goal for over 20 years, and I want to ensure my success. This transition seems bigger or different than the others I have experienced. What are your words of wisdom for people going from manager to leader to senior executive?
A. Making an impact at the executive level is different than at any other level in the organization, and successfully maneuvering this transition can support your success.
Linda Rosetti, managing director of Golden Seeds LLC, encourages you to look at two categories of change as you move from a senior leadership role to that of an executive. “First, as you step into an executive position, people and culture become the most significant levers you have in delivering value to the organization.”
Typically leaders who are elevated to executive positions have consistently outperformed their peers by spearheading a wide variety of initiatives within an organization.
Rosetti says: “As you transition to the executive role, leaders on your staff will be directly responsible for these types of initiatives. You can focus on the leaders themselves, the people, and the culture within which they operate. This pivot often trips up outstanding performers.
“Despite women’s lower numbers in the executive ranks, this typical female strength may support the success and longevity of women executives.”
Second, says Rosetti, “Think through the politics of your organization and the potential role it may have on your success.” The best leaders manage politics in as disciplined a fashion as managing a complex capital project. If this isn’t your strong suit, I’d encourage you to find an external confidante with whom you can think out loud and explore potential strategies.
Female executives sadly need no reminder that on the whole, their compensation remains less than that of their male counterparts. So move the business levers, deliver value, and ensure you receive value in return.Elaine Varelas is the managing partner of Keystone Partners in Boston and has over 20 years experience in career consulting, executive development, and coaching.