How to get promoted to management

You’re tired of being a workerbee, so use these steps to position yourself for an upgrade to management.

How to get promoted to management

Here's how to finally snag a management position

There comes a point in almost everyone’s career where you hit a wall. Feel stuck. Just want more.

Sometimes this means it's time to move on, but oftentimes, your mind is screaming “I can do more than this.” You’re tired of just doing your job. You want a team. You want to lead projects. And yeah, you want the title change and salary bump that comes with it.

“Workers may be motivated by a desire for increased compensation, or just a feeling that they are being underleveraged and are up for a greater challenge,” says Nancy Halpern, an executive coach with KNH Associates in New York City.

“For older workers, it’s about wanting to have an impact on the business, the desire to use everything they’ve learned in driving something forward and having a greater ownership stake.”

For younger workers, it’s about achieving career goals in a timely fashion so you aren’t still in the same place, like, when you’re about to retire.

But getting from Point A to the managerial team requires some finesse. You need the right skills, good timing and a boss who has faith in you, among other things. Try the steps below to give yourself the best chance of advancement.

Ask for it

Some people think that working hard and being loyal will automatically pay off, with promotions and raises rolling their way. But your boss isn’t a mind reader. She may not realize that you’re gunning for management unless you say so.

“Be transparent,” Halpern says. “Ask your boss what steps he or she took, and what gaps you have that should be closed.” Listen to their advice about what it will take—and do it.

“Years ago, I was part of a consulting team and, though more experienced and qualified than others, was never selected to be a project team leader,” says Todd Cherches, CEO and co-founder of executive coaching firm BigBlueGumball.

“After much waiting and frustration, I finally asked my manager why I was never chosen, and her response was, ‘Because you never asked.’”

Be a rock star

Keeping your head down and staying in your lane isn’t going to move you up the pipeline.

“Getting a promotion will require you to take on more responsibility overnight,” says Anna Cosic, a leadership and career coach based in Brooklyn, New York. “You want to make sure you give the impression that you’re capable of this.”

That could mean looking for projects where you can serve as the lead for a particular project stream, suggests Alyssa Krane, chief talent strategist for Powerhouse Talent.

Join committees or employee networking groups to showcase your leadership skills. Train and manage an intern or temporary worker. Step up for extra work, and be a problem solver.

“The career move into management should be driven by the desire to assist others in reaching their full potential while you reach yours,” Krane says.

Ask for help

Managing other people well isn’t an innate skill, and it’s okay to admit that you could use a little help learning the ropes.

“There’s a misconception out there that when you’re trying to do something bigger, that you should pretend that you now know everything you need to know,” says Jessica Sweet, a career coach for mid-life professionals and executives at WishingWellCoach.com.

Read books on managing people.

Reach out to people who are doing what you’d like to be doing. Talk to them about different managerial styles and how they got to their current position.

Get yourself a mentor.

You can also take classes that will help develop and hone your management proficiency.

“These opportunities usually exist within organizations and are available outside in various nonprofit groups,” says Ellie Eckhoff, senior vice president of career transition and executive coaching firm ClearRock.

“The experience you gain prepares you for the work and enables you to confidently communicate your competence in creating a vision, taking initiative, developing others, leading teams, and achieving results.

Make sure you’re ready

Are you trying to jump into management because it’s what you really want to do, or because it’s what everyone expects you to do? Are you comfortable delegating work and empowering people to get it done? Are you good at managing up, knowing what to tell your boss and what not to bother them with?  

“Management requires a huge amount of people skills and diplomacy,” Sweet says. “It also requires a balance between the needs of people and the needs of the company, and a lot of times those two things feel at odds.”

Management also isn’t the spot for you if you’re content to put in your hours and go home. “It takes a lot more bandwidth to manage and understand not only what you have to do but what everyone has to do and deliver,” Sweet says.

Jump ship

If you’ve done all the right things and you aren’t making any progress, you may have to move to greener pastures. Another company may be willing to offer what your current firm isn’t. “There might not be enough growth opportunity where you are, or the culture may not fit your leadership style,” Halpern says. “If you’re not getting that chance where you are, it might not be you. It might be that it’s time to move on.”

The first step in moving on is to join Monster today so you can start getting alerts for jobs that are a level up from where you are now. Monster's resume experts can also help get your resume management-level ready. Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression.