How to Be an A+ Employee in C-Suite Jobs

23 September 2020

Starting a new role? Struggling in your current one? C-suite jobs come with a lot of responsibility. Read more to make sure you're prepared.

Kompass International

By Kompass International

23 September 2020

Reports show that turnover in C-suite positions is on the rise, increasing by 22% in the first quarter of 2019 alone.

While executive churn is costly for organizations, it does open up a window of opportunity for those striving to enter a C-suite position.

Whether you are already holding an executive role, or are gunning to fill one, the key to success is knowing how to be an A+ employee in these demanding and dynamic C-suite jobs.

Outstanding performance in a leadership role often requires a very different approach than what is need for work done at other levels of a company.

If you are hungry to hone your mind and outlook for C-suite success, read on as we share some key strategies with you.

Hone Your Soft Skills

When you set out on a career path, the focus is mostly on attaining hard skills. However, soft skills have been identified as a crucial component of a well-rounded employee.

What’s more, developing a competent set of soft skills becomes increasingly important, the higher you go up the corporate ladder. As you become responsible for leading more significant numbers of employees, attributes such as effective communication, decision making, and trust-building become paramount.

Besides these four cornerstone abilities, here is a list of the other soft skills most prized in executives:

  • Empathy
  • Strategic thinking
  • Adaptability
  • The ability to problem-solve

Although we can all practice these skills, not many of us are fully adept at them all. If you feel that there is an area or soft skill that you could improve, proactively practice it. You can do this on the job, but you can also invest in material such as courses and books.

Don’t Aim for Personal Wins

As you climb the ladder, personal wins and achievements are important as they highlight your value as an employee and help to further your career.

However, once you reach the C-suite level, while you still need to perform to your best the outcome of this needs to be focussed on improving big picture metrics, and not only those the reflect favorably on you.

For example, as CMO, you need to leverage sales data to provide insights to the CEO. The purpose of this is to further the company as a whole, not simply to improve your department’s numbers.

Swap Task Focused Mindsets for Big Picture Thinking

As an employee, you have probably gotten where you are now by having a laser task focus. Being able to execute tasks efficiently is a highly desirable trait, and can make you stand out as an exemplary employee.

However, once you become a C-suite executive, you will need to think beyond task-based actions and focus on big picture thinking.

While work ethic is a haloed employee attribute, it is not necessarily something that makes for a great executive. According to research, 97% of low-performing CEOs had high work ethic scores.

Without big picture thinking at play, you and those below you can be as efficient as you want at task completion, but this won’t help if those tasks are not in line with strategies that are going to further operations.

Of course, executives do have tasks that need to be completed. However, these are of an analytical nature, such as evaluating financial metrics insights, market research, and company data, and communicating with management and stakeholders.

Prepare to Diversify

C-suite employees were traditionally vetted for their department-specific knowledge. Nowadays, executives are required to have a diverse knowledge base, skill set, and understanding of business operations.

For example, a CMO needs to not only have an understanding of sales and marketing but also be able to ascertain how different sales and marketing strategies will affect overall operations.

Learn to Leverage Smart Data

As a manager, once you reach the C-suite ring, one of the most important skills to possess is understanding how to work with smart data.

As a CMO, to excel you will need to analyze data to implement effective decision making. What’s more, CMOs are not just responsible for using data effectively, but also for managing elements of it. As a CMO, you will likely have to align disparate datasets, oversee proper data hygiene, and more.

A lot of the data coming in might have been collected from different sources, for different purposes. Your job is to have it all pulled together and to draw out the key takeaways.

Many CMOS and other executives are not yet skilled at data analysis and management. By strengthening your experience in this area, you will be able to stand out.

Now You Know Some of the Top Strategies for Excelling in C-Suite Jobs

C-suite jobs usually only go to those that have put in the work to get to the top of the organizational ladder. However, the skills and mindsets that got you into the role might not be the ones that will make you excel in it.

Instead of being task orientated, you will need to work to hone your soft skills, take personal measures to combat stress and fatigue, and adjust your mindset to big picture thinking.

Speaking of which, if your company data is not giving you the big picture, we can help. Is your organization battling to structure its data and make it work for its keep?

If this is the case, we recommend that you take a look at our data integration services. From data auditing to data enrichment, we can handle your entire data strategy process. We also offer data consulting. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, and we will be happy to help.


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