When we start our career in a company, many of us aspire to become a manager one day. Being a manager means additional responsibilities, a higher visibility and also most of the time an increase in salary.
However, what does it take to become a manager? Here are a few tips based on my own experience…
Show the value you provide
It’s easy to say you want to become a manager, but nobody will hire you or promote you if they do not see your worth / the value you bring. Show what you can do, your strengths and your expertise. While doing that, make sure you achieve the goals that were set, on an individual basis but also how you contributed to achieve the team’s goals.. Make sure you are also willing to learn and that you keep improving your skills and knowledge.
Don’t wait for something to happen. If you see an opportunity to take on additional responsibilities or to improve a process or a system, don’t wait until you are asked to work on it. Be proactive and volunteer. If there is a problem with a tool or a process in the team and you know you have the answer (or know you can find it), don’t think ‘it’s not my job’. Work on it and propose a solution or show that you have found a solution.
Let your manager known
Even if you are very good at what you do, are proactive and show you can become a manager, do not assume your manager knows for sure you want to become one yourself. When you have your 1-on-1 meeting or performance review, tell him/her that you’d like to grow further in the organization. Mention that you would be willing and ready to take on new challenges and new responsibilities. Explain you feel ready to manage a team and that you have already accomplished x, y, z that show you have the potential. It’s important not to just say it but that you also come with proofs or accomplishment to demonstrate you are ready for the next level.
Make sure you have some key skills
Reliability, integrity, decisiveness, problem solving, team building, etc These are some of the skills you need to have to show you can become a manager. Nobody will want to have a manager if they cannot rely on them. Nobody will want to work with someone if they are not trustworthy and show integrity. A senior manager will not want to have a direct report who manages a team who cannot make decisions or solve issues.
And do not forget…
Becoming a manager requires you to change your mindset. You are/were an individual contributor. This means you were mainly focusing on yourself and your job. When you become a manager, you now mostly have to deal with people. This means you have to ensure they do their job and achieve their goals. It also means that you need to support them and provide them with the training, tools and/or policies and procedures so that they can do their job properly. As a manager, you are also there to help your team members when they face challenges. You need to communicate with your team members and have regular meetings with them. You also need to report to your own manager about your team, their achievements and challenges.
Basically, your focus will shift. You will need to look at the bigger picture rather just than your own contribution.
Managing people is great when you are a people person, but it can be time and energy consuming.
One of the best pieces of advice I got when I was first appointed as a team manager was the following: “It gets lonely at the top”. You may be friends with some of your colleagues. However, when you become manager and they become your team members, they also become your employees. You need to be able to differentiate what is business versus what is personal. Not everybody will be pleased that you got promoted. Some others will not want to hear your feedback or will disagree with what you do or say. And that is why you will probably lose some friends along the way.
And it’s ok.
The most important thing is that you stay true to your values. Stay honest, keep working hard to show your worth. Keep managing and motivating your team in achieving goals. And before you know it, you’ll be able to go to the next level, becoming a managers’ manager!
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This article was also published on Linkedin.