5 Most Important Executive Leadership Skills

A businessperson may rise through the ranks to an executive position. Executives face unique challenges in their work life. They may be in charge of a global company division or managing a medium-sized business’s day-to-day operations. Either way, these leaders need to consistently produce results with their staff and the bottom line.

What does it take to be a high-level executive? How can you excel in your position and develop the necessary qualifications to excel in upper management? Executive leaders must produce positive change in your company and be the asset they can’t do without. You will also be sought after in your industry or sector and by different global companies looking for an executive that can truly lead their company into the future.

Here are five executive leadership skills to help you thrive in your role.

Executive Leadership Skill #1: Communication

Communication is an essential part of leadership development. An executive must communicate effectively to manage a team of individuals and deal with clients and vendors. This skill set involves sharing written and oral information for building relationships and inspiring trust.

A senior leader may have to manage teams remotely and get their message across to individuals and the entire workforce, so being articulate and expressing complex ideas is invaluable. Open communication is also important, so respect is built between colleagues and staff because if your team feels supported, they will be motivated to produce for you.

Executive Leadership Skill #2: Decision Making

While we all make countless decisions during our day, an executive’s decisions have a greater impact. The choices they make and the ability to make them at the right time separates the true leaders from the pack.

Decisions often need to be made in real-time, so an effective leader must be able to pull the trigger when needed. They are good at weighing all factors available for a sound choice, and when a judgement call is required, they use their experience to confidently move in the right direction.

Decision-making also requires knowing when to seek council for tough choices. Executives know to surround themselves with competent minds and will take expert advice to gain varying opinions.

Executive Leadership Skill #3: Adaptability

The only thing in business that you can count on is change. Everything from innovation to global crisis has an impact on a company, and how you steer through the chaos and technological advancement will decide if the company is better positioned on the other side.

This is a crucial skill set for the executive to have and grow. Industries change, sometimes suddenly, and you must be able to forecast coming trends and predict how to ride each new wave as it hits. Short-term disruptions affect a business, and urgent issues need rapid responses.

A leader must quickly pivot and deal with whatever comes up in an effective, calm manner. They also need to be the change driver and lead transformation in their industry through the company’s R&D projects.

Executive Leadership Skill #4: Big Picture Thinking

A top executive is often responsible for the whole business or organization, and they need to understand all the moving parts to properly guide the entire machine.

The internal workings of a company need to be cohesive, and when change comes, it affects different departments separately. When implementing change, a leader considers its impact and tailors the changes to benefit everyone if possible. Ultimately, the decisions made are for the company’s good, and growing pains happen.

Bigger picture issues include the broader market and industry that you are in. An executive must be able to forecast trends and plan for the future, years and decades down the road. They have a wide focus and position the company for their coming growth.

Executive Leadership Skill #5: Negotiating

The art of negotiation is a part of an executive’s work life. They not only make decisions but work to make the best deals for the company. This critical skill is used in a business meeting where you are working on contracts and brokering deals. Across the table will be people in similar positions with some of the same qualifications you have, so being dominant in the room is vital.

A negotiator is great at persuasion and compromise, and they need to know what battles have to be won and those that can be lost. Ultimately, everyone needs to leave the table satisfied so a wise executive will know how to serve the company’s best interest while keeping vendors, clients and partners happy.

Internally, an executive must also be adaptable with their employees and know what they have to stay firm on and where they can concede. A happy workforce will give more to the company and allow you to retain key talent.

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