So you’ve spent a several years of your career working your butt off, and by your calculations it’s time you moved up into a management role.
But hold up! Before you march into your boss’ office demanding that she rewards your efforts with a promotion, remember that there isn’t a litmus test that approves past performance and predicts your future for management.
Nope, a better way to move into management is to start with the one person you have direct contact with: your manager.
To make sure you do things the right way, read these tips that will impress your manager and show that you’re ready to hold a seat in management.
Think like your manager
Think about it like this: by learning how to anticipate how your manager thinks, the more recognition and approval you get. The more you practice reading your manager’s mind, the better you will be at anticipating what you think she may think or need. To make it easier on yourself, pay attention to what your manager needs you to do on the daily, as well as the times she asks for these things. Also, don’t be afraid to ask her what she has planned for the day. If you have access to her calendar, take a peek and see if there is anything you can do to help her.
Manage like your manager
One of the best ways to show that you’re ready to take on a management role is to find ways you can manage people and projects. Not only will you improve your management skills, but you’ll show that you’re capable of going beyond your call of duty.
To snag managerial projects, have a chat with your manager and let her know you’d like to work on managerial tasks. This could be leading team meetings, training staff or an intern. Is your manager going on a business trip? Check in to see if there is anything you can take care of while she’s away.
Show your management ability by helping your team members to get ahead too. Now before you think, “but that’s shooting myself in the foot”, consider the number of nods you’ll get for showing that you’re capable of bringing the stars out of your co-workers. Career coach and author Debra Benton puts it like this: “To move up in a company you have to get pulled up from above and pushed up from below. Helping others do well pushes you up from below, and seeing that you have a positive influence on your peers will get you pulled up from above.”
In other words, the secret to climbing the ladder lies less with being a star performer (that’s expected of you in any case), and more with making others’ stars shine.
Understand the company like your manager
To be an effective manager, you’ll need to know the company from the back of your hand. If you do, when the time comes to take your place in the manager’s seat, you’ll be able to make informed decisions. So it’s important to spend some time learning as much as you can about the ins and outs of the company.
Get it on the basics first. If you’re not 100% clued up about your employer, refresh your memory by reading the business’ vision and goals. To gain some insight on the company operations, strategies and obstacles, look up recent annual reports and press releases. Companies are always trying to beat the competition, so research your company’s competitors to see what differentiates your company from the competition.
You also need to have knowledge of the internal workings of your company. If you’re uncertain how other departments function, introduce yourself to these divisions and start asking questions. You’ll get the heads up from your manager by proving that your interest goes beyond your job, and you’ll get an overview of how the various departments interlink to contribute to the company’s overall success.
Act like your manager
While you’re thinking of ways to take your career to the next level, don’t lose focus of what you’re doing now. No one wants a manager who misses deadlines, forgets to answer emails or one who gossips about other employees. Show a good work ethic by never arriving late to work and being courteous to other people. Aim for a reputation that demonstrates that you can be trusted, and approach your tasks with a positive attitude.
Put these tips and tricks into practice, and soon you’ll prove to your boss that you add value to the company, and will continue to do so should you be given a management position.