5 ways to show you’re ready for a management position
Following this advice will take you to the next level—literally.
You’re a go-getter and were born to lead. You want to make a difference at your company, and you know you’re the right person for the job. Like you, 77% of millennials consider themselves a leader today and also aspire to be a leader tomorrow, according to The Hartford’s 2015 Millennial Leadership Survey.
But there’s one thing standing in your way: experience.
We hate to break it to you, but chances are you’ll need to put in the time and pay your dues before you’re truly ready to command the ship. And that’s not a bad thing. You need to make sure you’re battle-tested before you take the reins.
The question is, how do you get there? We spoke with career experts to outline the steps you need to take to get everyone else on board with you moving up the corporate ladder.
Volunteer to lead
A key trait in a good manager is the ability to rise to the occasion. “The best way to prove to your manager you’re ready for more responsibility is to step up during a challenge by volunteering to lead the effort,” says Vickie Kozhushchenko, president and CEO of VLK Consulting Group in Harleysville, Pennsylvania.
While being a manager is all about being a leader, it also means being team-oriented. “Engage with managers and peers to get the job done,” says Kozhushchenko. “Impressing someone in order to get promoted is as much about the results you get as the approach you take to get there.”
Focus on business results
To get promoted to manager, you have to deliver results—consistently, says Jon Mertz, owner of online career development community Thin Difference, a site dedicated to millennial leaders.
"Nothing speaks louder than positive actions,” he says. “The results need to advance the purpose of the business and bring others along in the process. Getting this mix right will put millennials on the path to successful leadership positions."
Make sure decision-makers know who you are
Demonstrating business results is crucial, but so is demonstrating results to the right people.
“You need to impress the decision-makers in the company,” says Kari Daffron, content and public relations manager at One Click, an eyewear e-commerce company based in Greenwood, Indiana. Do your research and make sure you know the organizational chart at your company. At the very least, you should know who your manager reports to and their expectations of you and your team.
“Your direct supervisor may be your biggest fan, but it will be harder for him or her to convince the rest of the management team of your greatness if they don't know you,” says Daffron. Make it a point to casually chat with leadership at department outings and to copy them on emails announcing any major accomplishments.
"Impress them with your talent, drive and quick thinking, and avoid resorting to kissing up to get ahead,” says Daffron.
Let it be known you want to grow
You also need to be open to your own manager about your ambitions. Stating your goals will demonstrate drive and will help your manager assist you in getting there. It’s foolish to withhold this desire because you think your manager will perceive you as gunning for their job. Remember, they have someone they report to, too, and if you look good, they look good.
“Share that you're interested in a managerial role and have open and honest conversations with your supervisor about your performance and your path,” says Erin Daiber, founder of Erin Daiber Coaching & Consulting in San Diego. “A person hoping to move into a managerial role should be in consistent communication about their performance, strengths and areas for growth and their aspirations in the organization.”
Create check-ins to learn about your progress
Not only should you be open about your ambitions to become a manager but you should also formalize this by conveying it in writing at the appropriate time—like your six-month or one-year review.
“Any areas for growth should be documented formally, and there should be a plan of action to make improvements and a timeline for a future check-in,” says Daiber. “This is also a great time to set expectations for a promotion date—what is reasonable and what needs to happen in order for a promotion to happen?”
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