Want to become a manager? Here's what you need to know

1 minute read | 31 October 2022

With a couple of years of experience and after a lot of hard work, you feel like you are ready for the next step in your career: management. A management position will open a new world of opportunities (and responsibilities).

As your Career Partner for Life, we understand that elevating your professional life can be scary, so we are here to help you.

Signs you are ready.

Manager roles will vary depending on the industry, but here are some signs you are ready to take the next step:

  • You put the team’s best interest ahead of your own.
  • You believe you can be a great example for others.
  • You can accept and embrace people’s differences.
  • People trust and respect you.
  • You’re a problem solver.
  • You’ve achieved all you wanted in your current role and are ready for a new challenge.

Our tips.

1. Join a growing company
This is one of the things most people forget to plan for. It is impossible for you to grow in a company that has no room to do so. So, join an organisation that has space for you to develop your skills and go up the lather. Growing companies will always offer more opportunities in general.

2. Develop your skills
In many companies, you need to show that you are already acting as manager or practicing the skills of one before you are promoted. With this being said, you need to keep growing and developing yourself as well as show a growth mindset. This might be looking for new opportunities, skills, experiences, or knowledge. Because management roles can be so complex, it’s important to strengthen your skills to ensure you’re prepared to step up to the plate. Actively assess the skills you already have and talk to those already in managerial positions to determine what skills you need to acquire or how to further develop the ones you already have. There are qualifications that are mainly to train professionals for managerial skills/ positions. Qualification offered by the CMI (Chartered Management Institute) for example, will look good on your CV as well as provide you with extra knowledge.

3. Add value to your team
A must-have skill for a manager is how much value they add to the team. Hard work will always pay off so always try to go the extra mile in your current role and deliver all you’re required to. Keep in mind the quality of your work and learn how to properly manage your time, as this will come handy in the future!

4. Volunteer for high-visibility projects
Aligned this the previous topic, always volunteer to help. This will strengthen your work relationships as well as take you out of your comfort zone. If you always volunteer for a new project or to help out a colleague this will show you have ambition and that you want to develop your skills.

5. Be a mentor
There are two sides of this and they are both valuable. You can either find a mentor to train you and help you get to the next level or you can become a mentor. This doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds.

It can be just keeping yourself open to your team members and let them know you’re there if they need any help. When someone has a question, you can practice teaching and being a good mentor — demonstrating vital skills for any good manager. This will show you have expertise (or are being guided to improve it), and that you can work closely with others and develop solid interpersonal relations.

6. Find your voice
Being able to speak up and communicate is a very big part of being a manager – so you should start practising now. Don’t be afraid to speak up in meetings or to offer your input. Try to always be prepared with good questions, suggestions, and insights – this will show you are interested and have a valuable opinion.

7. Learn the bigger picture

Independent of your industry, for the future you need to develop your business side. A good way of doing this is for example ask to sit in meetings with the leadership team. This way you can learn from them!

8. Ask for advice and seek support
Your managers won’t know that you are looking to move to a management position, so tell them. The best managers will try to help you getting your skills perfected and prepare you to be a good fit for the role.

9. Show empathy
This is a very important skill to master. Relationships are vital to your career development. As a manager you will be managing people. Learning how to communicate with others and being empathetic are vital to be a good leader and to make sure your employees trust you.

10. Network
Aligned with point 9, networking is a big part of all work relationships. Try to maybe have a coffee with one new person per week or per month. The main goal is to meet new people and build relationships with your team. How much value this adds, does depend on your industry and the type of role, but it will always be valuable.

In summary, here’s what you need to know:

  • Add value to your team.
  • Take calculated risks.
  • Speak up and be bold.
  • Know the bigger picture.
  • Volunteer for projects that give you visibility.
  • Mentor and be mentored.
  • Have career conversations with your manager.
  • Network.
  • Act with empathy and vulnerability.
  • Connect with your leadership team.
  • Be a resource to others.
  • Learn and practice.

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