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How To Step Up To An Executive Job

Source | | Liz Ryan

I will tell you something you already know about work: you have to set boundaries with your job or it will consume you. White-collar work is never done. The more responsibility you have in your position, the more likely you will be to let your work overwhelm your personal life and stress you to the point of sickness.

I care about this topic because my mission is to reinvent work for people. We will never humanize work if all the people holding executive positions are sleep-deprived zombies.

Not only that, but people who don’t value their own lives outside of work make terrible leaders.

If you are trying to move into an executive position this year or at some later point, the number one thing for you to do (apart from performing your current job well) is to get altitude on yourself and your path. Here’s how I did that years ago.

I was running HR before I got promoted,  but I performed my job in the style of the proverbial chicken with its head cut off. I was a multi-tasker, or so I told myself.

I had paper everywhere in my office and a thousand items on my to-do list. I was a mother-hen HR leader with no time to catch a breath. My boss said, “This is no good. I need you to create some breathing room for yourself.”

I had no idea what he was talking about. He told me that he wanted my advice and the other executives wanted it, too, but I was unavailable most of the time. I was dealing with other things.

The company was growing out of its skin and hiring like crazy, and of course there were millions of non-recruiting-related ‘people’ issues to deal with.

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