Stepping up to a more senior role can be as daunting as is it exciting.
Inevitably, the question arises about what should I do differently as I take on my new responsibilities?
A client of ours recently looked for clues in her newly acquired job description as she set about stepping up to CEO.
But what she found there seemed to call for a repetition of the things she had already been doing so well for so long.
She had proved herself in the ‘chief’ role: running business units and departments successfully, fronting up to clients, leading pitches.
Her ‘executive’ skills were first class: weighing the options and making good decisions was undoubtedly a strong suit.
And she is more than comfortable with the ‘officer’ component: bearing responsibility, understanding stakeholder relationships and adhering to appropriate protocols and professional requirements.
In seeking a navigation device for her new role, she wanted to find something that would help her to do more than rely on proven strengths. She wanted to enhance her performance by moving out of her comfort zone and focusing on the leadership that her business requires moving forward.
We looked afresh at the title and the job description and worked out the sort of CEO she wanted to be. One who would be able to liberate senior colleagues from unnecessary interference and potential duplication, and be more in tune with the requirements of a digital age in which employees are looking for much more than monetary reward.
Knowing that the rest of her Board can between them fulfill the officer element of the job, our client decided to think of herself more as an ‘observer’. Seeing beyond vested interests to reach the heart of the matter; using acute listening skills to ensure an impartial perspective.
Rather than focus on being an uber-executive, she decided to focus on ‘enabling’. Removing barriers to performance, letting people shine and being clear about end goals and indeed the purpose of the organisation. Helping all stakeholders work together to reach a shared end goal.
And rather than being seen as the chief, she determined to be a calming presence.
Being able to take the heat out of situations so that others could maximise their performance levels.
Any definition of job role has to be framed within the context of both the reality and the ambition of an organisation, and the people within it.
But by focusing on being a Calming and Enabling Observer at board meetings and in day-to-day exchanges, our client seems to be going from strength to strength in her new role.