Building Your Management Skills Before You’re a Manager.
Thank you to the wonderful, Luke Smith. for writing this week’s post
Many people seek a role in management because they want to make a difference in their workplace. However, even though you want to be a manager, that doesn’t mean that you are ready to take on the task, especially if a management position is not yet open.
The good news is that just because you don’t have the job just yet, it doesn’t mean that you can’t start building the skills you’ll need so you can impress right out of the gate once you have landed the position. To prepare you for that moment, we have some information about skills you’ll want to master, advice on determining your management style, and how to start acting the part, so you are ready for the real deal.
Your Leadership Style
Many people are interested in becoming a manager because they want to earn more money or feel like an authority figure, but the role is much more than that. As a manager, you are a leader to your team, and it is your responsibility to provide the inspiration and instruction that can help your employees succeed. Basically, if one of your team members gets promoted after being under your wing, it is a sign that you have done your job to help that employee thrive.
If that sounds good to you, you first need to decide the type of manager you want to be, and there are many different styles. A commonly effective style is democratic leadership, where you don’t move forward on a project without at least getting some feedback and guidance from your team. This form of management is successful because it makes everyone in your department feel like part of a team and when they know that their contributions and opinions are appreciated, they tend to work harder.
Another effective form of management is the “coaching style” where a manager works with everyone on their team and nurtures the strengths of each member and helps each person succeed instead of only focusing on the whole. How you act in your current role can help you to understand the type of manager you will be. If you value the opinion of others, then you should strive for a more democratic approach. If you would rather come up with the plans and have your team follow your lead, then you may be a more autocratic leader.
Once you decide the type of manager you want to be, keep that style in mind as you learn the skills you’ll need to succeed.
Skills to Learn
Next, you should learn more about the essential skills that you need to be a manager and start implementing them into your daily routine, so you are ready when the big promotion arrives.
The most important skill you need is the ability to clearly communicate your thoughts through verbal and written communication. Remember that you will need to listen to the direction of your bosses so you can relay their objectives to your team. You can practice communication by speaking up during meetings to ask questions and express your thoughts and ideas. You should also practice how to not be accusatory when raising an issue because if you do that with your future employees, you may lose the respect of the team.
Since managers often juggle many projects at once, you will also want to practice your time management and delegation skills while you’re working in your current position. Ensure that you are handling every task that you are assigned accordingly and focus on completing your assignments ahead of schedule.
If you are serious about becoming a manager, then you may want to consider returning to school for your Masters of Business Administration. The classes you will take during MBA programs are great for budding managers because the classes focus on real-world scenarios that you can carry over into your current job. You can attend classes without quitting your job, and in fact, doing so could work to your advantage. Mention to your current manager that you are returning to school so you can become an efficient manager like them. They will likely be thrilled at your gumption, and they may even give you time off to focus on your studies when necessary.
Start Acting the Part
Once you have an understanding of the skills needed to succeed in the world of management, you should do what you can in your current role to take a bolder approach and show your superiors that you have what it takes to move forward through the ranks. Whenever your manager mentions a new project, offer to take the lead and use your communication skills to ensure that you understand the task and the desired outcome.
In addition to how you act, you can also make an impact with how you dress. You can give off a certain impression depending on the colour or appearance of your wardrobe. If you want to appear bold and authoritative, you should go with black. If you can mix in some red, you will give off the impression that you are assertive and goal-oriented. While the colours in your wardrobe can make a difference, you can make an impression and show your desire to succeed simply by dressing professionally, even if the wardrobe at your office is business-casual.
As a final point, remember that even if you are not provided many opportunities to show your leadership abilities at work, there are other places where you can hone your skills. For instance, you could volunteer for a charitable organisation in a leadership role or find a part-time job as a supervisor at a small business and put your skills into action there. Look for ways to improve your skills wherever you can, and you will be ready for leadership when your chance arrives.
As you can see, just like any job, a career in management will take dedication and a willingness to learn, but with time, you will achieve the leadership role that you desire. Try the tips described above, and you’ll see yourself in management before you know it.
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but leadership and digital marketing topics are his favourite. When he isn’t writing you can find him travelling, hiking, or gaming.
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