Advice for Aspiring Managers
Do you have aspirations of becoming a manager one day? Many professionals have aspirations to rise to management positions, and it is easy to see why. When you are a manager, you can affect change at a high level, and it can be incredibly rewarding to lead a team and help people improve. Of course, management positions also allow you to command a much higher salary, and this is another key factor. Management positions will not fall into your lap, though, and it is important that you know how to go about paving the way towards becoming a manager. With this in mind, here are a few tips for aspiring managers.
Learn from Your Manager(s)
One of the best things that you should start doing as early in your career as possible is to learn from your current and previous managers. There are many different styles of management that people can use, and you should try to see what works well and what does not throughout your career. This can help you to carve out your own style, taking the best aspect of the managers that you have worked for and improving on their weaknesses. One of the great things about management is that it is a well-trodden path, so you can always learn from others that have already been along this path to develop your own abilities.
Let Your Intentions Be Known
As mentioned in the intro, management opportunities will not fall into your lap, and it is important that you make your intentions known to your manager. They will be able to offer advice and guidance, as well as consider you for any positions or responsibilities that could help you along the way. Hopefully, you will be able to find someone that can take you under their wing and show you the ropes, as well as help you to find the right opportunities to develop your skills and experience.
Work on Your Communication Skills
There is no skill more important than communication when it comes to management. You need to be an excellent communicator so that you can lead your team, improve performance, and develop trust. Obviously, you need to be a good speaker and be able to motivate your team, but listening is an often overlooked part of communication in management. The best managers are those that have excellent listening skills so that they can learn from their team members, make people feel valued, and collect as much information as possible before making an important decision. In addition to this, you need strong interpersonal skills so that you can make a good first impression and instill trust in everyone that you meet.
Improve Your Time Management Skills
Another key soft skill that all managers need is time management. When you are a manager, you need to be able to manage your time effectively and prioritize your own and others’ workloads. Managing a team can often feel a lot like putting out fires, so you need to make good use of your time so that you can keep everything running smoothly. Additionally, good time-management skills will be helpful for managing the time that you have in your own life – something that is key for creating a healthy work-life balance when you have a demanding job.
Support Junior Workers
One of the best ways to develop management skills and show your potential during your career is to offer support to junior staff in the business. This gives you the opportunity to gain experience in helping people to improve their performance, plus it will also benefit the junior staff and business as a whole. Of course, you do not want to be too imposing, so you need to find the right balance and make sure that junior staff know that they can come to you if they need any advice or support.
When looking out for those that have management potential, initiative is always something that people will look for. This is because those that show initiative are able to see the big picture, have self-confidence, and know what the best course of action is, even during stressful periods. You need to be careful when showing initiative and never take any action that would undermine your own manager or create too much risk, so showing initiative in small, safe ways is best and will show that you have management potential.
Closely linked to initiative is taking responsibility. Managers will always be willing to take responsibility when the team fails, or a decision backfires, so this is something that you need to be willing to do and showcase at the right times. Additionally, during moments of success, you must be selfless and praise individual team members and the team as a whole. Striking the right balance is difficult as you will need to be self-confident and show initiative but also be humble and happy to let your team members take the praise.
Take a Masters in Operations Management
Those looking to affect change within an organization should consider operations management, which involves making systems and processes within a business as efficient and effective as possible. A masters in operations management online will be an excellent qualification for anyone interested in operations management and will teach the essential skills and knowledge that are required to reach these positions and thrive. Upon completion of the course – which can be taken entirely online – people are able to advance any career in procurement, revenue, operations, and performance excellence.
Build a Large Professional Network
Those that have aspirations to rise to management positions need to build and maintain a large professional network. This is something that you should start doing as early as possible in your career by attending events and engaging with other people at work and even in your personal life. The internet can also be a great way to build a large, global network, and social media is a fantastic way to keep in touch with people over the years. Hopefully, this will lead to new opportunities presenting themselves as you advance your career, as well as help you to develop a positive reputation within your industry. Knowing the right people can always get you ahead in business, especially when it comes to management.
Identify & Work on Weaknesses
Those that are able to rise to management positions are those that are willing to work on their weaknesses. When you manage a team, you need to lead by example, and this will include identifying and working on your weaknesses. Everyone has weaknesses, and there is no shame in this, but if you want to take on bigger responsibilities, then you will need to address these to improve your performance. It is not always easy to identify what your weaknesses are, so you should also seek and pay attention to feedback from management, colleagues, and clients/customers.
Be a Team Player
Leaderships skills are certainly important when it comes to management, but you also need to be a team player. There is a misconception in leadership that those at the helm should always know what action to take, but actually, a great leader is one that uses the entire team and plays to the strengths of individual team members. Not only is team playing important in a business sense in terms of bringing different skills, experiences, and ideas to the table, but also so that people can feel important and valued in their positions. A good manager understands this and will be capable of making tough decisions but also understand that all positions are important and that it is a collective effort.
Look Around for Management Roles
It is important to be aware that sometimes to rise to a management position, you will need to move to another company. You may prefer to stay put and find a management role in the company you work for, but there is no guarantee that this will happen, and it is important to keep your options open. It can be tough moving to a new business, but there are always vacancies that arise, and those that are serious about progressing their career may have to make a big move in order to find a management role.
Learn About Management
As mentioned before, management is a well-trodden path, and there is a huge amount that you can learn from others. You can learn about management by reading books, learning from great leaders, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, and joining online communities, just as a few ideas. This can be a great way to learn and develop your own abilities so that you will be ready when the time comes.
Hopefully, this guide will come in handy for anyone who has aspirations to become a manager. Many professionals have aspirations of rising to management positions, but this will not happen automatically, and you need to know what steps to take and skills to develop in order to achieve your goals.