After the C-Suite: From Leader to Influencer
by Kate Nasser |
According to Harvard Business Review, leaders are following a new path to the C-Suite. Beyond the subject matter knowledge of leading a large functional area, the C-Suite expects a CFO, COO, CCO, CMO, President, Senior VP etc… to have leadership ability and business acumen to interact with their C-Suite peers.
This makes sense. When you move into a new sphere, expectations of your performance change.
As The People Skills Coach™ my questions to C-Suite leaders is:
What skills will you need after the corporate C-Suite?
After the C-Suite, leaders often move on to consulting, or teaching, or leading non-profit organizations. They move from leader to influencer. At this point, the emotional intelligence (EI) component of people skills becomes even more important.
Your reaction might be, “Leaders must be influencers in the C-Suite as well”. Yes quite true. Yet in the C-Suite there is the common focus of business profit/loss.
After the C-Suite, you must first identify what it is people care about to establish a common focus and then influence. That takes a greater focus on emotional intelligence and a different approach with people skills.
Try this simple exercise: Which picture would you select to represent finding a common focus?
The one above or the one to the right? Why?
Your selection reflects how, where, and with what success you will work after the C-Suite.
From Leader to Influencer
- An executive leader brings people around a vision. An influencer helps people discover a vision.
- An executive leader’s communication focuses on the end result. An influencer’s communication focuses on where people are at to get them to an end result.
- An executive leader has a strong drive to achieve. An influencer discovers what motivates others to achieve.
- An executive leader leads change. An influencer develops others’ openness to change.
For success in the C-Suite, all work as high achievers, often with direct communication, and with a C-Suite culture. After the C-Suite, those conditions change. As a consultant, you will work with many different companies, different levels within those companies, and different cultures. As a non-profit leader, you will face employees that live a different message. As a professor, you will teach some who have never lived in the business world.
So, how will you do it? Which picture did you select above? If your image of finding common focus is tangible components in a puzzle, like the wooden blocks, you may make assumptions that will inhibit success. You may focus primarily on performance and end results. You may likely overlook the human element of inspiring diverse people to find a common purpose and then reach results.
Noted EI expert, Daniel Goleman, outlines the 5 Components of Emotional Intelligence at Work: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.
To succeed after the C-Suite, find time and opportunity today to further develop your empathy and social skill. Others will value your incredible experience, critical thinking, network connections, and business acumen if you know how to connect and work with them outside the C-Suite.
I look forward to working with you,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. For permission to re-post or republish, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, has 20+ years of experience in diverse industries and a Masters in Organizational Psychology. She has a finely tuned ability to work with people. Her proven track record as a consultant inspiring teams to change and greatness will serve you well in your transition from C-Suite leader to consultant or teacher. See this site for more information.