Integrity and communication skills are key
Any ambitious young executive needs strong ethical values and a clear moral compass. One lapse of judgment or instance of dubious conduct can damage a company's reputation and its bottom line, while ending the individual's hopes of progress.
Therefore, every up-and-coming manager should make integrity a core value and regard honest, open communication with employees and other business contacts a priority. This is vital preparation for more senior leadership roles and the key steps are:
- Be transparent. Treat your team as valued partners and share information freely and frequently.
- Make colleagues aware of what you're doing to keep the company on track.
- Explain decisions so that employees understand the logic.
- Effective communication is more about listening than speaking or writing. Delivering information without inviting feedback makes it difficult to form a real connection.
- Encourage team members to voice opinions, and practise "active" listening. Pay full attention and allow for different opinions.
- Make it a habit to provide crystal-clear information and instructions. This prevents misunderstandings. It is particularly important when dealing with new team members or contacts who need to understand your principles and see how you operate.
Andrew Morris, managing director, Greater China, Robert Half International