5 skills you must master before moving up to management

What to learn so you can earn that promotion.

5 skills you must master before moving up to management

Moving into your first management role is a big step and not just because it comes with a better title and more money. The move into management typically comes with bigger responsibilities, more accountability and higher expectations. But before you get there, you need to demonstrate you have what it takes to rise to the challenge.

Here are five skills you need to master before you're given the opportunity to move up to management.

Project management

Project management is a vital skill for first-time managers. It all depends on your ability to navigate a project, to be able to see a destination and be proactive in reaching it, says career counselor Roy Cohen.

“First and foremost, having clarity as to what you are being asked to achieve and over what time frame,” he says. “Without context and expectations, you will have no clue as to deliverables, the time to come up to speed, and the resources you will need to deploy to achieve success productively and efficiently.”

Transitioning relationships

When you move into a management role, your relationships with the people around you are going to change. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

“Business is personal and relationships do matter... when you transition to management, especially if you are promoted to lead the team you were a member of, the business relationships you have will change,” explains Morag Barrett, CEO of the HR consulting and leadership development company SkyeTeam. He suggests sitting down with each person on your team and having a conversation about new rules of engagement.

Delegating duties

Delegation involves handing tasks over to competent members of your team and giving them appropriate levels of guidance to succeed — and it shouldn’t be confused with micromanaging. “Few things say, ‘I don't think you are capable’ as strongly as micromanaging a colleague's work. When partnering with others, be sure to clarify roles and trust that others will complete their tasks as well as you will complete yours,” says City University of Seattle’s Leadership program coordinator, Arron Grow.

“If there are questions, ask them, but don't constantly 'check in' or 'watch over' a colleague as they take care of their part of the work.” Be clear about expectations, be open to questions and concerns, and let them do their part.

Coaching communication skills

Strong communications skills are a staple in management, but your team members should also have them. “Companies often employ people that couple outstanding technical skills with interpersonal challenges. It is often the role of the manager to work on these deficiencies for the good of the department and the organization,” says Howard Seidel, a partner at career consulting firm Essex Partners.

Motivating a team

A good manager needs to be prepared to boost employees’ energy when their drive wanes. “The ability to inspire others is an actual skill many fail at, yet the very one that overrides all functional expertise when managing others,” says Christine DiDonato, founder of Career Revolution, Inc.

“This means you will have to know how to get others excited about an idea or project — enough so they want to take action on their own.” Being able to access and activate others’ strength means you’re ready to manage a team.

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