Work your way up the corporate ladder is what you were told. Hard work does pay off, but it’s not enough. When you get promoted into a leadership or executive role, it may not be the best move for you. Here’s why:
Think of 3 different levels in an organization.
The foundation is the technical worker(s) a.k.a. the widget maker.
The middle layer is leadership, also known as management.
On the top is the executive team, otherwise known as the C-Suite.
Historically managers are promoted because of tenure on the job, but the skill set needed to lead is much different than dealing with customers. I’ve witnessed older managers get promoted because of their loyalty to the company, but once elevated the proverbial wheels fell off. Just because you were great as sales, production, service, etc. doesn’t mean it will translate well at the next level (it has little to do with age, much more to do with mindset).
The same happens for middle management. Leaders are focused on managing people, but with an upgrade to the executive team, now you have to forecast growth. Thinking strategically is not the same as relationally. As a CEO, CTO or CFO you’ll spend most of your time in meetings and researching data. The additional money is nice, but you’ll soon find out if it’s the right fit for you.
This comes back to self-awareness. Knowing what you can and can’t do. Higher pay is always nice, but nowadays people quit their jobs much quicker if they don’t love and thrive in their position. Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t what it used to be. And although entrepreneurship may be sexier it’s also not for everyone. When it comes to your career path, figure out your direction before you start traveling. Pursue a role where you can make the biggest impact, learn the most and utilize your God-given abilities. Otherwise you’re just driving without a destination in mind.