How to land an executive role

If you’ve managed a team of people for many years, you may feel that you’re ready to step up to an executive role at your company.

Making that leap is an undeniable challenge, as executives need to have experience in every area of a business. This means that the frameworks you followed in your previous job might not be enough for you to succeed at this elevated level. Consequently, you’ll need to develop your skills and abilities in order to prove to those hiring that you have become the ideal candidate to land an executive role.

Develop the mentality of an executive

Become a leader

Effective leadership means having the knowledge and experience to guide a team towards achieving their wider organisation’s mission and goals. As noted by executive search firm Egon Zehnder, businesses need leaders who will “master complexity, unleash innovation, and mobilise teams for transformation”. Essential leadership qualities include strong communication skills, empathy, accountability, and positivity, as well as a willingness to collaborate.

Adopt the growth mindset

Coined by psychologist Carol Dweck, the ‘growth mindset’ refers to the development of an individual’s abilities through hard work and dedication, as opposed to the ‘fixed mindset’, which sees people doubting that their intelligence can be enhanced. Adopting the growth mindset is crucial for the success of any business, and employees must believe that they can learn and develop, and use this as a form of motivation. Instill this ethos in the people you manage by facing challenges, embracing imperfection and learning from mistakes in order to give your team a sense of purpose.

How to move into an executive role

Step up to the job

Executive roles are not normally advertised in job listings, so you will need to let your management team know that you’re interested in a promotion—most executives are promoted from within a company. If you are open about your future career goals, your company’s executive board may be able to offer guidance or training. You can also prove your worth and capabilities by showing your employer that you take an active interest in how the business works. This could be demonstrated by asking to be a corporate representative at the next major meeting or give a key speech at an event. Do something to stand out in the sea of other potential executives.

Learn from others

To get the executive role you want, you’ve got to act the part. Take an interest in the kinds of issues your superiors face, and analyse how they present themselves when dealing with them. This will help you identify any skill deficits that you could work on to meet the demands of the role. For example, you could volunteer to help with a task that will give you the opportunity to broaden your global perspective of the business.

Start networking

Research has shown that networking helped 46% of people find a job, therefore it’s a good idea to meet others in your industry and learn from them. Attending networking events is a great way to make connections, demonstrate an interest in what other employers do, and ask executives at these companies what they look for from their c-suite. Back in the office, you can connect with current executives, hiring managers, and anyone else who might be able to assist you in securing a promotion. Networking has huge advantages for all staff members, making them more noticeable, boosting their confidence, and helping them to develop long-lasting business relationships.

Hire a career coach

A career coach can help job seekers identify what they’re lacking, be that in skills, experience or qualifications, letting them begin to transform themselves into the perfect candidate. Executive jobs aren’t easy, and come with a lot of responsibility and control, but a career coach can guide you through the process and ensure that you’re fully prepared for the challenges ahead.