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Transitioning from Senior Manager to an Executive

05/01/17 Greg McHugh Partner

It can be intimidating to make any leap up to the next stage of the corporate ladder. At every step of the way, it is common to have questions about how best to transition into the new C-suite or D-suite role.  Yet not everyone has someone they can go to with questions. So we went ahead and asked Andy Raymond, Head of Redline Executive ‘What are some of the most important attributes required to successfully transition from a senior manager position into an executive-level role?’

Andy responded: “Throughout my career in Executive Search and in Senior Managerial positions, I have coached many leaders around this exciting transition. There are a number of important points to consider when you make the transition.

First, you will be moving even further away from the practice of your profession, whatever that may be. You are going to be even less hands-on with the content of the job and will instead be making decisions and judgments based on the quality of the information brought to you by your team. Second, your role as an executive will require more time creating and refining strategy, connecting the dots and observing important trends and patterns at the high level. 

Third, you will still need to be very concerned about the growth & development of those below you, because they will play an even larger role in your success. 

Fourth, your organisational network (peers, external partners, clients, and customers) will be even more important to build and sustain.

Lastly, your ability to stay connected to the outside world – industry events, conferences, and peers outside your organisation – will be very important in staying up to date with the changes that may affect your industry. 
The ability to demonstrate that you recognise and can practice the above will help you make the case for advancement to an executive role.

In the grand scheme of things, senior managers are still considered middle management – they are generally seen as those who crack the whip and move projects.  The move to an executive position requires a spectrum of qualifications that most people do not have:

Executive presence - being known and liked by management and ultimately recognised for your accomplishments 
Sharp communication skills 
Tech-savviness - with focus on information versus hard and software
Cost consciousness 
Talent development skills 
Loyalty and Positivity 

Additionally, you need to know and respect the culture of your organisation but also introduce change, which is a great element to beat competitors. You need to know the competitors of the company and learn their marketing plan, to be decisive and focus on the quality of your work and your team. As an executive, you are going to work with other executives, some of whom may have more seniority. Only worry about the ones who have lots of ‘mental cement’ and oppose change. You need to be a change agent. Keep bending them back and forth until they break. Bottom line, your communication skills combined with your physical charm will pay off.” 

To have a confidential discussion, please call Andy Raymond – Head of Executive Search on +44 (0)1582 878907 or send an email to ARaymond@RedlineExecutive.com