Senior Executive Leadership: Do You Have What It Takes To Fill This Role?

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What does senior executive leadership take?

Well, you can only completely understand what it takes to be a senior-level executive after you have become one.

But it's important to start educating the layer below to understand the areas they must develop in to grow into the top level of leadership in their organizations and industry.

Moreover, if you've been cruising in your role as a senior executive for years, digital disruption has now inculcated an urgency to revisit strategies and create a new vision for the modern world.

You must continue to empower yourself to leverage data, people, innovation, and technology to stay relevant.

Is your organization providing support to senior leadership to help develop the required competencies?

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Here are the 8 critical areas where excellence is expected in senior executive leadership.

1. It all starts with leading yourself.

If you are in a senior executive position, chances are you have already understood the importance of developing self-awareness and are learning to understand and manage your own emotions effectively.

Continuing to build your emotional intelligence is very important. You must have a clear understanding of your personal value system, core beliefs, and biases — both conscious and unconscious.

One of the most critical skills is having a clear personal vision and being able to collectively define an organizational vision, and then formulate a plan to communicate it throughout the organization.

2. Lead individuals and teams.

You have to be an expert at being able to identify ways to lead engaged teams. You would have figured out how to plan strategies to enhance team performance.

Driving results can only happen through effective planning and execution. Not only do you have to manage cultural and generational diversities effectively, but you also have to coach your team members to do so.

3. Lead and manage business risks.

Understanding various types of business risks and managing those becomes very important.

Exploring ways to reduce risks and liabilities must be on your mind.

4. Be a strategy leader.

At this level, you are the leader in defining strategy.

You must understand relationships among the various parts of the business model, disrupt the business model if required, identify hypotheses, assumptions, and risks behind the business, and continuously find ways to add value or reduce cost.

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5. Lead the business in digital transformation and entrepreneurship.

Senior leaders have to understand the dynamics of driving results in a VUCA (Volatile Uncertain Changing Ambiguous) world.

They must determine the current and desired state of digital metamorphosis in the organization, identify ways to leverage existing digital platforms to transform the business, and understand the impact of using digital technology to improve business value.

6. Be an innovation and change leader.

As part of the business strategy, it's important for senior leaders to understand how their organization can innovate.

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Identify obstacles that inhibit creativity and innovation and set constructs to transform the culture.

While generating ideas to innovate and improve business outcomes is essential, involving others in this process is mandatory.

7. Use data for decisions.

While self-awareness will improve your intuition skills, understanding the data-driven decision-making process becomes crucial, too.

Recognizing the importance of using data to guide business planning, identifying the primary sources of data for decision making, and using results of data analysis to make business decisions must become second nature by the time you get to this level.

8. Build a leadership pipeline.

Remember, it's your responsibility to identify competencies that make a successful leader in the organization. You have to identify high-potential candidates and groom them at all levels in the organization.

Plan a process and strategy to plan the career progression and enhance the knowledge, skill, and behavior of high-potential employees.

While it's desirable that you get great at all the above-mentioned competencies, most leaders have one or two strengths that they leverage and work with others to get better at the others.

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Bhavna Dalal is a master certified executive coach MCC ICF, speaker, and author of "Checkmate Office Politics" who helps people develop their leadership skills, such as executive presence, strategic thinking, influencing, and networking. To learn more about her work, visit her website or follow her on LinkedIn.

This article was originally published at Forbes India. Reprinted with permission from the author.