How to Make the Jump to Manager
By Elijah Thomas
If your career ambitions include making a jump to a management position, there are some specific goals you should be trying to hit along your professional journey.
Some of them are tangible, while others are more focused on relationships. Read on for a few ways to make sure your leadership objectives come to fruition.
Be a Consummate Professional
Take professionalism seriously if you’re looking to make the leap into management. Commit to wearing proper attire and using appropriate language in the workplace.
It can be easy to slip into gossip situations with co-workers, especially as you build close, strong relationships. But it is important to remember that word travels fast, so making sure you stay above these situations is paramount to your growth within the company.
You should also be aware of your company’s human resources policies and guidelines. Always follow these guidelines and expect the same out of your leadership team.
Be a Problem-Solver
Executive leadership takes notice when you bring solutions to an issue versus all of the related challenges. The people with the power to promote you are looking for creative problem-solvers to help move the company forward.
Businesses that run effectively are able to overcome problems, such as competition, product quality issues and communications gaps with customers. The speed at which they overcome these problems can make the difference between success and failure.
You can differentiate yourself by identifying issues, coming up with an effective solution and then pitching it to your leaders.
Make Your Goals Known
Management teams at good companies are constantly looking for the next wave of leadership to help advance business goals. Don’t make them guess if you are interested in being part of that wave.
Communicate openly and honestly with your leadership team about your aspirations. Use your performance review sessions to share any career path goals you have. They may be able to put you on a specific plan to help you reach these objectives.
Being forthright about your goals will earn the respect of your managers. Leadership is hard, and anyone who is willingly making it a priority to lead will gain the respect of hiring authorities.
Build Strong Relationships
Any great leader will tell you that a successful career is all about relationships. You’ve heard the old adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Who you surround yourself with and the relationships you build in the workplace will serve as springboards into your next opportunities — whether it’s within your current company or not.
Be a good listener and confidant when people need to get things off their chest. Give solid advice to peers looking for someone to listen. Go the extra mile to help people out on projects, even if it’s not particularly in your wheelhouse.
Your efforts in building positive, sustainable relationships will go a long way toward building your personal brand as a collaborative, trusted professional.
Before you can become a manager, you have to define your personal goals and timeline. Are you looking to be promoted within the next few weeks? The next year? Putting your specific goals on paper will help you build out a career growth plan.
If your employer isn’t willing to help with this process, then there may be a company out there that is a better fit for what you’re trying to achieve as a professional.