Moving Up into Management
By Elijah Thomas
If you’d like to climb the ladder into management, you’ll have to properly position yourself for the move.
Supervisors are expected, first and foremost, to lead — so you’ll have to define yourself as someone who’s ready to help others succeed.
START OFFERING SOLUTIONS
Let’s face it, every workplace environment comes with its own unique set of challenges. What sets good managers apart from others is the ability to problem solve rather than sitting back and complain. Those who get promoted are the ones who go further than simply identifying issues, instead offering solutions when a setback occurs. Whether it’s quality control, outside competition or communication breakdowns, the most effective managers are first and foremost looking for answers. The faster these problems can be overcome, the closer everyone will be to the success everyone is striving for. Identify issues, preferably before they become chronic, develop solutions and discuss it with company leaders. You’ll soon join them.
BUILD WORK RELATIONSHIPS
Candidacies for management are also strengthened by the ability to communicate and work with others. If your proposed solution won’t work, consider brainstorming with others to improve the idea. Help out with projects, even if they are outside of your immediate job description. Be a sounding board and offer advice when appropriate on workplace topics. Building positive professional relationships shows that you are collaborative and that you understand the broader spectrum of how the operation functions. They also show that you can be trusted. You’ll become a better leader, even if these relationships don’t immediately create a springboard with your current employer. They might open doors down the road.
Moving into a management role is more than supervising. You’ll also be expected to inhabit a larger leadership role, inspiring others and sharing a vision for future success. If you feel under-prepared for this shift, or simply want to better position yourself for a promotion, consider pursuing professional development training in motivating others, problem solving or performance evaluation.
Understandably, these skills may not have been an element of your previous jobs with the company — but they’ll be key to succeeding on the next level. Your company may already have training programs. Otherwise, seek them out online, in textbooks or through area universities or community colleges. And remember that this learning process is ongoing. Effective managers continue incorporating new ideas, strategies and leadership skills into their personal management style.
TALK ABOUT YOUR GOALS
Develop a timeline for your promotion. Sketching this out will help focus your work. At the same time, management may be looking for the next great leader on their staff, but they won’t necessarily understand your ambitions if you don’t voice them. Once you have a clear idea of what job you’re interested in and when, communicate those aspirations honestly and openly with the management team. That can happen through the course of a performance review, when asked about your career goals, or in conversations held in a more informal manner. But be forthright with your goals. If you’re a good candidate for a future opening, they’ll remember these important discussions.