I have had the privilege of working with some inspirational leaders as bosses and mentors, candidates and clients.

What I have noticed is that the great ones have complete control of their career destiny and they all practice three very simple things.

Build relationships

The first is they build relationships: At this stage in your career it’s very likely that your ‘technical skills’ are honed. You know your job inside out. Although this is a big tick, this will NOT get you the top job.

Build as many relationships with your peers, and future peers, as you can. Strong relationships with people already at the table will put you front and centre when the ‘whose next’ chat is taking place.

I often speak to frustrated candidates, they are always overlooked and don’t understand because they have the skills they are looking for and already basically do their bosses job for them. The chances are as they haven’t ‘worked the room’, they simply don’t have enough friends.

The first question I ask is ‘what do you think of the X Director’ and typically the answer is ‘not very good’. It tells me they are never likely to make it, if you can’t see the value in others you won’t realise the value in yourself. The person you don’t think is very good is likely to have a say in your future.

I know it sounds cynical and that the best person for the job should get it always but being able to establish relationships is a critical skill; it develops trust which is vital amongst colleagues for any business to flourish, particularly at board level.

Be genuine, be willing to help, praise and compromise for someone else’s goal from time to time.

Be rhetoric

The excellent leaders or senior members I’ve worked with are extremely effective at telling others what they are good at and what value they have added and what the results are.

If you aren’t able to personally articulate the successes of you and your team then how do you expect others to know, understand and buy into them?

This does come with caution, no one likes a ‘big head’ who shouts about how great they are all of the time. In the same breath, no one likes a martyr who continually talks about the hours they’ve worked and act like they are running the company single-handedly.

Ensure you talk about successes at the right times, with the right facts and bring others with you. Articulate your ‘I’ in the wider ‘we’ but be sure to articulate both.


It’s simple but applies to all roles not just the senior ones.

Listening is a critical skill. By listening you can understand the room more effectively and it will help you to measure your response and appear more considered and on point.

Listening enables you thinking time to effectively construct points, tailor your responses, be more balanced and persuasive. All characteristics you would expect for a board level leader.

What else gets you to the ‘top table’? We would love to get your opinions / thoughts – comment below!

Feel Feel free to contact me or any of the Copello team members for help with securing that senior role.

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