Career Management Human Leadership Internal Comms Careers Leader communication

Leadership and Self-Management: 5 Key Traits for Transformation, and Advancement

After working for over a couple of decades in communications, branding and marketing, I have come to realize that success often hinges on a unique blend of personal traits, attributes, and skills. It’s a realm where adaptability, resilience, and curiosity can pave the path to greatness. To excel as a communicator and leader, one must continuously evolve and embrace a holistic approach to self-management. In this post, I reflect on the qualities that propelled my career, the traits I believe are often overlooked by senior communicators, and advice I can share for aspiring leaders.

Resilience: The Key to Career Advancement

For me, resilience is the linchpin of success in the communications field. It entails the ability to remain steadfast in pursuit of your goals, unwavering in the face of setbacks and challenges. Resilience keeps you focused, driven, and capable of weathering the storms that inevitably come your way. It’s the trait that allows you to “stick to your guns” when the going gets tough.

Senior communicators often reach their positions by demonstrating this very resilience. They understand the value of persistence and perseverance in achieving their goals. They have learned to embrace challenges as opportunities for growth, and they do not easily waver in their commitment to their objectives.

I have faced toxic workplaces, bullying and harassment from leaders and seen how organizations protect those in high offices, when there is wrongdoing. It did dishearten me initially to see that companies which claim to have an open and transparent culture aren’t living it in practice. However, what kept me going was the belief in my expertise, abilities and worth – knowing I will be valued for my ethics and values and that there are better organizations out there.

Curiosity: The Missing Ingredient in Senior Leadership

While resilience is crucial for personal advancement, curiosity is often the missing element that holds senior communicators back from becoming great leaders. As professionals climb the career ladder, they may become complacent, thinking they’ve learned all they need to know. Ego can cloud their judgment, hindering their ability to continue learning and adapting.

The failure to remain curious about evolving trends in the industry can lead to stagnation. Senior communicators may become disconnected from emerging technologies, changing consumer behaviors, and the shifting landscape of communication channels. This lack of curiosity can hinder their ability to lead effectively in a rapidly changing environment.

Advice to Younger Self: Leadership Is a Continuous Journey

Reflecting on my own journey, leadership is not limited to specific job titles or levels. Leadership can be demonstrated in everyday interactions, even as an individual contributor. I encourage my younger selves to commit to this ongoing journey and not wait for a particular role or rank to lead.

Transformational Traits and Mindsets

According to me, to transform a communicator’s career, certain traits and mindsets are pivotal:

·       Adaptability: Embrace change and stay agile in a dynamic field.

·       Ownership: Take responsibility for your work and its impact.

·       Humility: Remain open to learning and don’t let ego hinder your growth.

·       Pioneering: Innovate and lead by example, introducing new ideas and practices.

·       Results-Driven: Focus on delivering tangible outcomes and adding value.

Becoming a trusted communicator often requires establishing thought leadership and credibility through actions. For example, engaging in activities like blogging and speaking at industry forums can boost your profile and internal net worth. Sharing best practices and contributing to your organization’s success solidify your reputation as an expert.

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