Career progression is and always will be a pertinent topic within a business. Naturally, we look to grow their careers to help achieve their life goals and gain satisfaction from their work. Now, more than ever though, the desire to become a manager is increasing within the workplace… And it’s only going to become more pertinent. With newer generations moving into our companies; their visions, beliefs, and ways of thinking are changing company cultures. Additionally, you have to consider technology and digital media’s impact on workplace culture too. Some organisations may find these changes difficult and we may find it hard to achieve our goals as a result.
That being said, you can still move up the career ladder and move into a management position. The skills that you must have are what move you to the forefront of the opportunities within a business.
developing skills to become a manager
To be a great manager you need to be really engaged in your role. Learning and development are often at the core of employee engagement. 68% of the workplace believes that training and development is the most important factor within a working environment. Therefore, if you’re not being trained, are you developing within your role? Identify areas where you need to develop your skills and look at training opportunities. This could be face-to-face training or using digital learning depending on what skill you need to build and the time available.
Training doesn’t always have to be attending courses or conferences; you can upskill yourself internally through knowledge sharing between teams and colleagues. Additionally, this has an added benefit of promoting working relationships among peers, creating a social stimulus that will benefit the productivity of the business both short-term and long-term.
Furthermore, a team member who is trained and developed often feels valued by their company. An employee who feels valued is more engaged with the business and will produce for the business and its wider goals. As a result, if you’re engaged in your company and work, you’re more likely to be on the right track to becoming a manager.
skills to consider
Discussing the need for skilful, talented managers is one thing, but knowing the skills you need is another. There is an array of soft skills that must be considered when looking to become a manager. Having the talent only gets you so far; it’s the other half that really helps you get to where you want to be. You’ve looked around and seen colleagues promoted and questioned how right? That’s because they’ve nailed the other 50% of skills that can impact their career progression.
Out of the many soft skills that you can acquire to help you achieve your career goals, we consider these four to be high up on the priority list:
communication within the workplace
When applying for your initial role, or even now, have you communicated your aspirations? It sounds like a silly question, but more often than not, we find that we’re perhaps not being considered for managerial roles due to the fact we’ve not communicated our desires. How does this reflect on our overall communication skills? If we haven’t realised that we need to communicate our goals, have we effectively communicated the businesses wider goals to our colleagues?
Great managers have the innate ability to effectively communicate their goals to their superiors, understand business goals and set clear and achievable objectives to wider teams in order to achieve business goals.
Communication doesn’t just affect goals and ambitions either. Being able to communicate on various levels is important when dealing with people. The way effective managers communicate with younger members of their team may be different to older members. Additionally, the way they communicate with different areas of the business may be different and it’s that ability to recognise the communication style you need to use that separates great managers from average managers.
building your internal network
Something that coincides with effective communication is working relationships. Once you’ve mastered your understanding of communication you need to establish working relationships. When looking to become a manager, you’ll notice peers around you who have multiple friendships and social relationships at work. Your job is to identify yours – who do you have working relationships with? Are they the people that will help you to achieve your goals? Who do you need to improve your relationship with?
Ensure you have strong relationships with key decision makers within the business. Essentially, these are the people who will have the most influence on your career progress. They may be the difference when interviewing for a more senior role within the business.
You also need to build your influence within your business. Being talented at what you do, combined with strong and powerful relationships combine to build a powerful skill – influence. Having the ability to influence those around you helps you to create a meaningful impact on the business. When you have influence, you’ve created a network of people who believe in you and your opinion. This is perfect for positioning yourself as a thought-leader and more knowledgeable person within the team, but be sure you use effective comms and inter-personal relationships to move you from an ‘expert’ to a ‘leader’ because there is a difference.
be more assertive
Ask yourself – are you confident enough to make strategic decisions and not continually question yourself? If you’re not, why would others around you be confident? There is a fine line between the two, but in order to become a manager, you need to be assertive in the right areas and confident in your choices when leading your team. It’s OK to question yourself sometimes, that’s healthy and humble. Use your network to assertively gain feedback on your ideas and opinions – this isn’t a sign of weakness, this is bringing your network into play and promoting them within your cause/goals – they will fee valued as a result.
Furthermore, you need to be assertive to help drive forward outcomes. You don’t want work to sit in limbo, without decisions or deliverables being met, and that’s where an assertive, yet charismatic approach benefits the wider team. Often, the reason that things are sat in limbo can be due to resistance, and effective managers have the assertiveness skills to understand and overcome resistance to change or ideas.
care for those around you
This may sound fluffy to some, but this simple, yet effective skill can have such an impact on those around you. 38% of workers believe that their manager doesn’t consistently act in their best interests. Trust is such an important factor when considering working relationships, and you cannot disregard it as something that is not needed because “it’s work”. Many leaders emphasise the need for trust and care from managers to their team, and the best leaders focus on this to ensure they create a ‘circle of safety’ for their teams.
Creating a circle of safety, positively impacts the working environment. When our teams know that we care for them, they work even harder to repay that trust. This snowballs and before we know it, we have a trusting, safe and productive working environment that is conducive to the working culture that we all wish to achieve within our businesses.
How does this affect you? Well, your actions matter! Whether you’re a junior, looking to move into middle management or a middle manager looking to become more senior, your actions impact those around you. Developing your attentiveness and care towards your team will help you make more mindful decisions. Your colleagues will notice and appreciate that.