I don’t know about your company but we can’t go a week around here without another email about a retirement party. The baby boomers are in their 60s and are done working.
There is so much experience walking out of companies right now that there are openings galore for leadership positions. Are you ready to take that top spot?
One common problem right now is that the leaders of most companies are in their 60s and some of the next people in line for the top jobs are in their 30s. Not that age determines leadership, but life experience is helpful in just knowing how to handle situations because you have likely had to deal with a variety of issues over the years.
Anyone who was stuck behind someone who wasn’t leaving their top spot for a decade or two has already jumped ship to another company to take an executive position there. With the economy doing better now is also a great time to evaluate looking for another job anyways or to be asking for a raise because people are in demand and many places aren’t able to fill their spots, but these are topics for another day.
Book Smart or Life Smart
Way back in the day when I was going to college my dad always told me to make sure that I like what I am doing. He said that while it’s important to get good grades it won’t matter if I am not good at the job or like it. He always encouraged me to try out the business before I get into it.
He pointed out the valedictorian of his class in college was the best there was at taking tests and had a 4.0, but once she graduated school she was a horrible teacher and quit right away because she didn’t know how to handle students. Kind of hard to be a teacher if you can’t handle or deal with kids.
One of the challenges of taking a leadership position is dealing with people on a regular basis. Your success comes off the success of others and at times you will go home exhausted and think you are just a babysitter. And sometimes that is what you do and the burnout factor is extremely high.
If you don’t like people or can’t deal with conflict and personalities you may struggle to move into a leadership position. If you don’t like being held responsible at the end of the day for the final product then you might not be able to handle it.
If you are only doing it for the money you probably won’t make it very long. I’ve had long conversations with employees who want the money but can’t handle the responsibility or accountability.
Lead or Follow
Some folks just don’t like to be in charge of a project or a team. They don’t mind being part of a team but they don’t want to make the final decisions. It’s good to get feedback but if you ask 50 people for their opinion on what to do expect that you will get 50 different opinions and if you go a different direction those who didn’t get their choice selected may feel left out.
I have a team of employees that have spent their time in leadership positions and have moved back into the regular employee spot because they were burned out from being in charge and dealing with people. They have earned their money and are content with letting me and others make decisions from here on out. Their work stops at 5 pm and they can go home in peace and quiet knowing they won’t get a call after hours.
Always Looking for Opportunities
It is your responsibility at the end of the day to search for promotions. Rare are the times in life when someone walks up to you to offer you something you want. However, those who are proactive often put themselves in a situation to at least have a better chance when opportunities arise.
As a boss, I like when my employees are proactive and look for opportunities. I want them to move up and progress. Because a happy employee is a productive employee. Some are satisfied where they are at and others ask me on a regular basis for new opportunities or what may be available down the road.
If you aren’t proactive then your company or organization isn’t going to come to you and offer the world. Learning how to be a good boss and leader is always important. Just because you think you are ready doesn’t mean those making the decision see you the same way. Have you ever asked your current boss what you could do to put yourself in that position?
Yes, some bosses are jerks and think you are just after their job. Other places have succession plans in place because you can’t let 30-40 years of experience walk out the door without passing on some of that experience to others.
I don’t know anyone within 2-3 years of retirement that can’t stop looking at the end of the tunnel. If they start talking about it then ask what you can do to put yourself in a better position and what they think you need to do.
Between the economy improving, job openings, and baby boomers retiring now is an amazing time to start looking for that next step in your career.