Most start out on their career with aspirations of going as far as they can. Usually in big organisations that means climbing up through a hierarchy to senior management or leadership role.
Many do this successfully and go on to achieve great things. Others find it a struggle. We all know that in organisations there are leaders at all levels. There are some who within their peer group have significant influence.
There is plenty of articles talking about whether leaders are born or made. Personally I think it is a skill that you can learn and in fact keep learning throughout your career.
So how can you work out whether you are likely to excel as a leader or not?
Ask Yourself Why You Want to Lead
In the early stages of your career seniority means earning a lot. When you are at the start and struggling to make ends meet, the financial rewards are hugely compelling.
As you progress through your career, the gap between what you are and what you could earn closes significantly.
By the time you actually make it to a senior management or leadership role money is not going to provide enough of an incentive.
So why do you want to lead? If you can’t articulate the answer to this it’s always going to be a struggle.
Consider How You Respond Under Relentless Pressure and Expectations
It’s fair to say that we all need a bit of pressure and challenge to be at our very best. This is a whole lot different to being in situation where the pressure is almost constant and every time you achieving one success, there is another challenge or crisis waiting.
If you struggle with this you might find that leading is not right for you.
Think About What Really Matters To You
Status, seniority and money are all very nice. By the same token we all spend so much time in work so we want to be doing what we really enjoy and really get a kick from the majority of the time.
Making a conscious choice to make a positive contribution to organisational results without necessarily being in a leadership or senior management role is fine.
The Bottom Line: Taking on a formal leadership role can be hugely rewarding and at the same time hugely challenging. If you want to lead, make sure that you know your reason why and give it your all to do to the best you can.
Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 7,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.