Listicle: Four pitfalls for a new executive to sidestep

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Listicle: Four pitfalls for a new executive to sidestep

Research shows most executives fail within 18 months of their appointment

 

Everything leaders say is given exaggerated importance.

Everything leaders say is given exaggerated importance.

 

 Research shows that most executives fail within 18 months of their appointment.

Here are four “derailers, ” or common pitfalls, and how to avoid them if you’re a new executive:

Define your image 

As leaders rise, others perceive them differently. Because the demands of executive roles make leaders less accessible, people fill in the voids with stories of their own.

Leaders must avoid having others define them.

The higher a leader rises, the more their reputation matters, and the further outside their control it becomes.

Neutralise the megaphone effect 

Everything leaders say is given exaggerated importance.

Their verbal and behavioural messages are amplified when they step into an elevated role.

While leaders should not become stiff and formal, they must remain mindful of how people experience them. Be clear about intentions and precise in communication.

Learn to work with sifted data 

It’s common for new executives to find that their access to unfiltered information dries up when they’re promoted. Whether it’s safe to offer executives truthful information depends on how they react to unvarnished information.

Once a leader’s trustworthiness to handle the truth is established, they will get increasingly complete data, though they shouldn’t expect access to the data they once enjoyed.

Embrace the aliens next door 

Perhaps the greatest distortions occur in close relationships.

Former peers become direct reports, or remain at lower levels, while former superiors become the new peers.

Successful executives make an effort to reset boundaries in redefined relationships.

They discuss things such as new priorities, accessibility, information flow and mutual expectations of influence and confidentiality. – Copyright Harvard Business Review 2016

 

Previously published in The Irish Times.

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