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Getting Into the Executive Suite

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Reaching management level in business won't guarantee big bucks, a corner office or even a really nice chair. The hours are long, and the pressure rises with increased responsibilities and expectations.

However, good leaders can make or break a team, and it's the mix of risk, visibility and impact that makes it compelling to those who are driven to pursue management or executive level positions.

Are you boss material?
If you're considering a management position, figure out if you're boss material before jumping into a race for a promotion. Being in charge isn't all catered meetings and cushy off-site seminar accommodations.

It does have some downsides. For instance, there's no assurance of more money, and technical or sales people can see their pay go down with their first promotion.

"If you just want to go into management because you just think, well, I'll have more status or power, that's really not a good motivation," says Marshall Goldsmith, executive consultant and author of "What Got You Here Won't Get You There."

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"You want to go into management because you really enjoy the process of leading people. If you don't know, do you think you'll enjoy the process of leading people?" he says.

Just as star athletes might not make the best coaches, top employees don't always make the best managers.

To help employees succeed, stellar interpersonal skills are vital. Managers must effectively coach people and communicate their ideas.

"It's a big transition from being a great achiever to leading. You may be technically gifted, you may be an athlete in any number of different fields, but you have to transition to a role where your job is no longer to be the star but to help others be a star," Goldsmith says.

That doesn't mean only the glib smooth-talkers can climb into the executive ranks. Communication skills can be learned.

Get training and practice...read more