By Tami Briesies, Zazzle Media
If your career is progressing well and you're focused on securing senior executive positions - really bidding to break into elite, top-level roles - then it's vital your management skills are honed to near perfection. These are skills which could well carry you all the way to the very top. If you have them and are able to demonstrate these, such experience and ability will set you apart from the rest of the competition.
Here are the key management skills you'll need to possess and master if you're going to successfully claim the kind of executive job role typically listed on exec jobs.
Being a manager requires the ability to seize the initiative. When you're in charge of a group of people, they will all be looking to you for guidance and leadership. There will be situations where no-one knows the way forward, and the next step to take. It's your job to decide that, make a decision, and move on. If you can think of a time when something unexpected came up that you dealt with quickly and efficiently while you were in charge, add this into your covering letter or CV, and raise it at interview.
Being a manager requires a lot of responsibility. Quite frankly, at the very top, the buck stops with no-one else but you. This might translate into managing a project, on time, and within budget. It's not always easy but at executive level you need to be able to take responsibility for large tasks and be prepared to answer difficult questions if not everything went to plan.
All managers will have to work with other people in some regard, whether that's supervising a team day in, day out, or micro managing and taking a more distanced approach and directing from afar. Either way, this still involves leadership, stepping in when required and advising on best practice at regular times. How you interact with others - how you motivate, challenge and inspire - is a vital aspect of management.
This is crucial. It's about how you manage yourself, and your time, and subsequently that of colleagues. Being late or unorganised just isn't part of a manager's make-up; it won't be excused and it will set a bad example to those who work with you and for you. The bottom line is that you set the tone and lead from the front. Time management skills go further than being punctual, however, and using time effectively is invaluable. Can you juggle a dozen tasks at once? Can you plan your week to perfection? Can you consolidate the schedules of a whole team of people? There's an art to getting it right but if you can, you create an efficient machine that works well together.
Whether you liase with employees via email, telephone, Skype or face-to-face, it's important to show that you can communicate clearly and effectively. Employees hate being kept in the dark, or hearing something second hand. A great business leader has the personal communication skills to address colleagues regularly, a radar for warning signs with staff issues, and always - always - the time to listen to any problems. Don't hide away, unreachable and evasive. Dedicate specific update meetings and keep everyone involved.
Do you have all these qualities? If so, it's little wonder you're destined for great things. But even if you do, here's the kicker - you need to retain them, and put them into practice all the time. An effective manager can't let performance slip.