Is Climbing The Executive Ladder Your Cup Of Tea?

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Moving into management takes a shift in thinking, and new ways of finding self-­actualization. By Gargi Nalawade (Founder & CEO, Sepalz)

Mid-career engineers and marketing people alike, often struggle with the difficult decision of staying on the technical track, or taking the risk of moving into management and climbing the corporate ladder. In the early stages of your career, if you started out as an engineer or a marketing professional, you have the immediate satisfaction and exhilarating feeling of laying your hands onto the details and finding self-­actualization in bringing your creation to life or bringing home a business deal.

Moving into management and climbing the executive ladder takes a shift in thinking and adjusting to new ways of finding that self-­actualization. And is abound with newer challenges along the path.

Letting Go

The first big challenge of jumping into management and onto the executive track is that of letting go. Letting go of the need to know every single detail, nook and cranny of your creation, depending on your team to take care of the details and finding comfort in the knowledge that you have picked the right team for the job. Or have you?

Often would you be haunted by the urge to step in and do it yourself, for you feel you could do it better and faster, than a certain member on your team. And you have to fight that urge to do so and instead mentor him/her to be better than what you could be.

You can no longer put a finger on a feature saying this is what I created. But you now need to train yourself to put it on several of those, and rejoice in your team’s accomplishments.

Tooting Your Horn

Being on the management/executive track also means establishing that hard balance of -­ staying abreast of the necessary details, without turning into a micro-­manager. It calls for expanding your social and leadership skills while being a master of your time.

What you might have once considered to be a waste of time – which was getting your head unburied from your keyboard and LCD screen and walking out of your cubicle to talk to people; now becomes a necessary, integral part of your new role. If you don’t do this, you risk your team suffering due to your lack of social savvy and managing upward skills.

The Balancing Beam

In addition to the above, you still have to be skilled at managing your team and deliverables, while keeping your team happy and loyal. People on this path would say that managing upwards, downwards and your peers, is like a balancing beam act - never a perfect balance forever.

Add to all of the above, the part of being a woman in the increasingly gender neutral world at work and the unique roles of motherhood and fatherhood at home, you are faced with yet another dimension on the balancing beam of work versus personal and family time that magnifies a hundredfold over, in face of the increased and high-­stake responsibilities that come with shouldering an executive position.

That being said, becoming an executive has its rewards. Come get a window into what the life on the other side truly is and what it takes to get there, as you hear the journeys of successful women executives at the TiE Women’s forum at TiECon 2012 (May 18-19, 2012 in Santa Clara, CA).

This post was originally posted at TiECon 2012.

About the guest blogger: Gargi Nalawade is the Founder and CEO of Sepalz, a social intelligence platform (8 patents) for intelligent targeted networking between individuals and businesses. Gargi started her career with a marketing stint, worked for several years as a technical (routing) architect at Cisco and has authored 26 USPTO patents. She blogs at The Social Evolution. Follow her on Twitter at @Astra_9.