Chief Executive Officer
This Week in Leadership (Nov 22 - Nov 28)
Surging COVID cases have leaders debating their return-to-office plans. Plus, business books for the holidays and tips for launching a second career.
When you look at any organization, you will see a mosaic of specialties. There are the technical-minded: the numbers savant, the IT wizard, the R&D guru. Then there are the creative types: the rainmaker, the idea machine, the social media maven, or even the self-proclaimed Picasso of PowerPoints.
Don’t get me wrong: there is a need for people with deep expertise: like the highly-valued coder with noise-cancelling headphones who works all night amped up on energy drinks. But no matter how good these high-performing individual contributors are, they can still get siloed.
The brutal reality is what got you here won’t get you there. If you’re over-reliant on your technical skills, you’ll be left to wonder why (and when) your career hit a wall.
People miss this all the time. Here’s what happens. At the start of your career, your technical—or what I call “left-brain” skills—matter the most. It only makes sense—you need to be proficient in certain areas so you can get the job done.
Over time, though, these left-brain skills are only “table stakes.” To advance, you must also develop what I call “right-brain” skills. At the center of the right brain are crucial “people skills” that help you connect with and influence others.
Sound easy? It’s not. Most people don’t even think about their people skills.
The truth is if you’re not in your “right brain,” you’re going to be left behind.
The higher you rise, the more your right brain rules. Developing your right brain makes you a more rounded person, which will help you grow and stretch to new assignments and career opportunities. Here are five critical right-brain skills to develop:
Your left-brain, technical skills will always be important, but don’t expect them to be more than a baseline. If you want to elevate and expand your career, you need to get out of your workspace, move away from your whiteboard, exit your Excel spreadsheet—and get into your right brain.