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Tips to consider when transitioning into an executive role

by Ana Lopez
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Lilit Davtyan is the CEO of Telephone xaan all-in-one marketing solution for calls, leads, clicks, email, SMS, accounting and more.

Transitioning into an executive role is an exciting time for any emerging professional. This milestone in your career is a testament to the hard work and dedication you have put into your profession and the leadership skills you possess.

But with the excitement of moving into a senior position in a company comes new demands and high expectations. It is not uncommon for newly appointed executives to feel a little apprehensive about taking on additional responsibilities in a highly demanding role.

As one of the first employees of Phonexa, a global marketing solutions company, I rose through the ranks to become EVP, CFO and now CEO. From my experience, there are definitive, actionable steps you can take to ensure a smooth transition to the C-suite level. Consider these tips as you move into an executive role.

Build credibility with your personal brand.

At the executive level, the primary focus is on building external relationships. While developing external relationships with clients and potential partners, you also build credibility and establish yourself as a trusted leader. That’s why your personal brand is just as important as the company’s brand. When you take on an executive role, people inside and outside your organization need to know who you are as a person and what matters to you.

If a client or potential partner has faith in you as a person, they will also have faith in you as a leader. This is an essential lesson I learned during my transition to the C-suite. That’s why taking on a leadership role isn’t just another step in your career; it’s an opportunity to hone your personal brand and strengthen yourself as a versatile leader and trusted partner.

Leadership training is one way to help you build credibility as you take on an executive role. This training will not only help you develop your personal brand, but also teach you how to build relationships and create long-term relationships with customers.

Adapt to shifts in workplace dynamics.

Taking on an executive role can cause a shift in workplace dynamics. But the biggest changes usually involve everyone else, not the person who changes roles. Knowing how to navigate team member reactions is essential. It’s especially important when team members see a former colleague take on a leadership role, as the transition can make some wary of even more changes.

As a new leader, open communication with your team is the first crucial step in adapting to the changing dynamics. You need to make sure everyone is prepared and comfortable with the change. If you will be working with the same team from before your transition, make sure they are aware of all the changes your new role will bring. If you’re going to work with a different team, similar conversations should be had so they understand what’s happening and don’t feel unnerved by the change.

Of course it is also important to adapt internally. To feel comfortable with your new position, you must acknowledge that you have nervousness or lack of confidence. When someone takes a promotion, they often take it without much thought because it comes with a prestigious title and more money; they are not immediately prepared for all the responsibilities that come with it. That’s why it’s important to be honest with yourself about your preparation for a higher position within the company.

Take leadership advice (as long as it applies).

There is no universal roadmap to becoming a successful manager, so take any advice shared with a grain of salt. Like most new executives, I received advice from fellow executives as I transitioned to the C-suite. Although I received good advice, I also received advice that did not apply to me. For example, the strong advice I received was to make sure I have a relationship with internal departments. This helped me gain the trust of department managers, which also shaped how their teams viewed me as a leader.

One piece of advice that didn’t match my vision was that I should always communicate personally with customers. This is not always feasible for a manager who has an internal team to manage. Being a leader requires a lot of face-to-face interaction with outside parties, but it’s important not to lose track of what’s happening in the office. In the end, I found that balancing responsibilities inside and outside the office is what makes me successful in the long run.

Distinguishing good advice from bad advice ultimately comes down to the industry you work in. For example, the advice I would give an aspiring manager in the banking industry would be very different from what I would share with someone in technology. The key is to build a network of seasoned professionals from whom you can learn and consult when you need advice. While it’s important to lean on peers with similar educational and career backgrounds, don’t focus too much on a professional’s current title. Learning from someone with a diverse background can also help you progress in your career.

Becoming a successful manager doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work. Building your personal brand, communicating effectively with your teams, and heeding the lessons shared by experienced professionals will help you achieve success.

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