Hello SOTGC community,
Female leaders are making headlines in recent years ~ Sheryl Sandberg, Indra Nooyi, and Marissa Mayer and remain the exception to the rule. According to CNN Money (2015) Fortune 500 companies hold just 5% of the CEO jobs and the pipeline of rising stars behind them is pretty lean.
In many business sectors women are making significant advances into leadership roles. At the end of 2015 twenty-six percent of college presidents are women. Business school leaders women hold 20% of dean positions. Women are one in five partners in private law firms. Women make up a quarter of U.S. Federal court judges. Let celebrate that for the first time, more than 100 women serve in congress. And 80% were Girl Scouts.
However, the advancement of women to C-Suite in corporate positions is stagnant. Women hold less than 5% of executive roles in fortune 500 companies. Although, a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics results of nearly 22,000 firms globally found that companies where women sit in the C-suite are more profitable. The lack of gender diversity affects the bottom line. So how do we get more women into these upper ranks and survive?
Here are seven Skills you need to thrive in the C-Suite
According to Harvard Business Review (2014) corporations are spending thousands of dollars on their executive’s personal development. The level of skill requirements has changed dramatically in the last decade and is likely to continuing changing. This past year I surveyed women business owners and those sitting in the C-Suite to capture their most valuable skills they focus on to thrive, make an impact, and be heard in the boardroom.
- Integrity having a reputation for ethical conduct is a must. Having integrity has risen to the top of the “must haves” for leaders because of the speed of today’s communication. Organizations look for high integrity more today because of the demand of customers wanting more.
- Leadership skills are the most indispensable for executives. The most eye opening comments were “anyone can come to the table with technical skills, which was previously paramount, today an executive needs to come to the table with strong leadership skills… the ability to get people to want to do more.” Meaning be a take-charge leader balanced with authenticity, trust, respect for others, ethical and strategic leadership abilities.
- BIG thinker and strategic execution. Having foresight and the ability to think strategically on a global basis was frequently heard “set the strategic direction” and “integrative leadership.
- Technical skills is the most frequently cited skill for executives. This doesn’t mean knowing how to turn a computer on and off; this is referring to understanding business law, financial and how technology impacts the organization.
- Team building, leading teams, and team-related skills are strongly emphasized. “A world-class leader must be able to develop an exceptionally strong leadership team. No one in the C-Suite can succeed as a one-person player” from one of my interviewees. Executives must be interested in continual personal and team development. Executives cannot continue to sit behind closed doors and be continuously multitasking; leading from behind and resisting stress and ensuring the team does not burnout. And do all this while smiling and remaining positive.
- Strong communication and verbal skills. If you want to sit in the C-Suite ladies, you must possess the authority of persuasion. This I heard from all 50-women interviewed. This is having the capability to communicate with all levels of stakeholders… and there are many. You must have the ability to influence business direction and achieve buy-in.
- Change Agent. Being a change agent was recently acknowledged as a growing demand in management skills. Being a change agent is a simple yet powerful meaning of having the ability to be at ease with the constant flux in your industry.
The necessary skill sets are changing at rapid speed. By the year 2020 this list may be drastically different. What are you doing to prepare yourself to move up to the C-Suite? Share your ideas with us at https://www.facebook.com/uporout/.