Almost all executives aim to land C-suite roles in their career. But one challenge they have to face is to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of others, that they are ready to take on such a big responsibility. So what traits should they have to make this leap?

First and foremost, these people should be strategic visionaries, says Manu Saigal, Director, General Staffing, Adecco India. They must possess the ability to foresee the organisation’s future with clarity and audacity. This involves crafting multifaceted strategies that not only anticipate market trends but also align diverse interests and inspire collective action.

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They have to be a decisive architect capable of crafting ways to navigate through ambiguity, she says. Analysing information comprehensively, making timely decisions with confidence, and taking ownership of the consequences with unwavering commitment are essential traits of C-suite aspirants.

As a collaborative leader, it is crucial to orchestrate collective efforts across departments. Building trust and facilitating open communication fosters synergies, transforming individuals into an ensemble working towards common goals. Being a communication virtuoso is imperative. Mastering the art of persuasion and inspiration involves tailoring messages to diverse audiences with clarity, conciseness and a narrative that can spark action. In the face of change, an agile navigator thrives. Embracing change as an accelerant, adapting strategies swiftly, navigating unforeseen challenges and maintaining an unwavering focus on overarching goals are key components of success.

Lastly, as a perpetual learning enthusiast, cultivating a relentless thirst for knowledge is paramount. Actively seeking feedback, embracing new perspectives, and continuously refining one’s skill set contribute to sustained growth and success in leadership.

How to self-assess the skills

Ankit Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, Unstop, says C-suite executives should be able to guide others and this trait will be put to test in many ways. “The ability to motivate and inspire people to work should be a part of your skill set. You need to ensure they don’t lose sight of the milestones no matter how difficult they are. Employees who rise to C-suite level roles should have the ability to look at the bigger picture and make decisions that are required and important in the longer run. This includes taking some risks sometimes. There will be moments when things don’t go the way you planned. At this time, managing a crisis is important and being an empathetic manager to your team matters too. Also, to be prepared in advance for any shortcomings also helps manage a crisis better.”Those who are looking to land such jobs should arm themselves with the required traits before aiming for such profiles. “In the high-stakes realm of the C-suite, self-assessment is a crucial compass for charting your course and identifying areas for growth,” he adds.Saigal says a person’s track record will show up and this can be used to make a personal brand. Networking, too, is useful to find mentors, opportunities and talents. These can set you apart within the executive cohort.

“For those aspiring to the C-suite, it is imperative not to underestimate the impact of personal branding and strategic networking. These should be viewed not as secondary considerations but as integral components of your leadership journey. Invest time and effort in refining your brand message, cultivating genuine connections, and witness the acceleration of your ascent to the executive peak with each purposeful step. Remember, in the C-suite, success thrives on the strength of your brand and the influence of your network. It is not a singular feat but a continuous expedition,” Saigal says.

The director at Adecco India suggests candidates continue to build “trust bridges” across departments by actively listening to people; master the art of clear messaging; become a lifelong learner; embrace challenging assignments; lead high-stakes projects and volunteer for stretch roles. These can put executives on the road to C-Suite careers, she adds.

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