Last Friday, we hosted a Virtual Think IT Panel Event on the topic, how do you know if you have what it takes to be a senior executive? A huge thank you to our panelists, John Naylor, President and CEO at Medica, Matt Marek, CEO at Further, and Jolene Gardner, SVP National Emergency Response at Optum, for sharing their experience on how they got to the executive level. Thank you to everyone who joined us as well! 

Below you will find an overview of the most popular questions from our members and a summary of what was discussed. 

What are the characteristics of a successful member of an executive team? 

The main characteristics of a successful member of an executive team are collaboration and confidence. What holds people back from being on an executive team is the fear of failure. Executives need to be authentic and have integrity. Those characteristics help them work well with others and bring who they are to the workplaceExecutives need to lead with trust and be emotionally intelligentIt is also important for executives to be organized, strategic, drive for success, and have a sense of urgency 

What prevents most people from achieving the executive level? 

 From a broad perspective, there are fewer executive level positions to choose from, especially in the times we are in now. To be an executive, people need to learn from failure. What prevents people from not achieving the executive level is a lack of preparation, planning, and constantly growing. People also should want to be at the executive level for the right reasons. It’s not about what you’ve done but how you’ve done it. At the end of the day, you must take charge of your career and your aspirations. Executive level leaders should treat everyone the same way no matter what their title is.  

Does IQ or EQ make a bigger impact at the executive level? 

Both IQ and EQ are important when considering the executive level. You should be able to connect the dots and understand what is happening in your organization. This is why it is important to have emotional intelligence and understand the technology your organization is using. It helps executive leaders see the organization as a whole 

How do we offer opinions and stay visible in leadership meetings without looking too aggressive and appear to steal others’ show? 

Building off other people’s ideas helps build collaboration and trust. It’s important to let your voice be heard in meetings and ask questions the right way. Be aware of how you feel and see that if what you have to say is going to add value to the conversation.  

Executive leaders need to have technical skills that will help them see the whole company’s perspective. Think broadly, not boldly.