How To Become a Manager (With Essential Skills To Master)
Updated 27 February 2023
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Managers play a crucial role in ensuring the overall success of a company in every industry. They are responsible for leading teams of employees, coordinating projects and tasks among the team members and liaising with senior management. Becoming a manager is an excellent way for professionals to advance their careers and increase their salaries. In this article, we discuss how to become a manager and explain the critical skills that help you excel in a managerial role.
How to become a manager
A manager has the dual responsibilities of being a leader and a supervisor. They are responsible for ensuring their team's performance and motivating employees to deliver results. Follow these tips on how to become a manager in your current role:
1. Be aware of the responsibilities and duties
The first step is to develop an understanding of the role's requirements. You can reach out to the hiring manager to get a clear idea of the basic specifications and requirements for the position. Make sure to understand the daily duties and long-term responsibilities of the role. You can also contact your current manager to get insights on how they handle the tasks and duties associated with the position. This information can help you decide if a managerial role interests you and can also help you develop the right skills for the role.
Related: How To Become A Facilities Manager (With Duties And Skills)
2. Consider a management degree
While it is not mandatory, some companies prefer managerial candidates with a professional management degree. If you are working full-time, you can enrol in a part-time or distance programme that allows you to complete your MBA while working. If you wish to pursue a management degree through an on-campus full-time programme, you can consider taking time off work to complete the MBA and then rejoin the workforce as a manager.
Related: 12 Best MBA Specialisations To Help You Advance Your Career
3. Show initiative at work
Showing initiative at work and adding value to your team are some ways for senior management to notice your contributions in the workplace. Volunteer for extra projects and look for opportunities to showcase your leadership skills. For example, you can volunteer to handle the presentations at company meetings or organise an event. This can help demonstrate your dedication and commitment to the company and team while showcasing your presentation and organisation skills to senior team members.
Here are a few other ways to get senior management to recognise your contributions:
excel in your role
ensure that your work aligns with the company's overall strategies
volunteer for leadership activities
be proactive and engage during team meetings
provide creative and innovative solutions for any problems that your team may be facing
4. Mentor your teammates
Managers are leaders who coach and train others to deliver their best. Mentoring provides opportunities for you to exhibit your leadership skills. As a mentor, you are responsible for the professional growth of a teammate and guide them when they face challenges at work. Start by mentoring interns, as they usually require frequent support and guidance. Once you build your mentoring skills, you can request senior management to train new employees. You can demonstrate your leadership abilities by helping them become a part of the team.
Related: What Are Examples Of Professionalism Skills?
5. Support your colleagues
Another crucial step in becoming a manager is to support your colleagues and peers. Add value to your team by providing them with knowledge, resources and timely support in crucial tasks. Listen to the challenges of your team members and volunteer to offer any assistance they require. Demonstrating team spirit and resourcefulness can work to your advantage when applying for a managerial position.
6. Express your intentions to your manager
Once you decide to transition to a managerial role, clearly express your intentions to your supervisor. You can ask your supervisor to provide honest feedback regarding your administrative skills and get recommendations on how to improve them. Your supervisor may even assign you additional responsibilities to help you develop your managerial style. Use their help to identify career development opportunities that match your professional goals.
7. Build your professional network
One of the significant duties of a manager is to interact with many stakeholders in a professional capacity. This may include managing employees, liaising with vendors and interacting with clients. Having an extensive professional network gives you an advantage when you apply for the role of a manager. Networking can help you win the approval of your peers and understand them better. This is a significant benefit as you transition to the position of manager as it enables you to identify the strengths and weaknesses of team members, thereby personalising your managerial approach to suit each individual.
8 essential skills to excel in a managerial role
Here are eight essential skills that help you excel in your role as a manager:
1. Financial skills
Understanding budgeting and having financial knowledge is critical if you want to become a manager. Even if you do not work directly in accounting, having basic knowledge of budget planning can help you determine your team's impact on the company's overall finances. You can build your financial literacy by enrolling in a budgeting and accounting course, which helps you learn the fundamentals in a short span.
2. Communication skills
A manager acts as a liaison between senior management and frontline employees. Having excellent communication skills can help you communicate effectively with your teammates and other stakeholders. Learning how to provide clear and concise instructions helps avoid conflict in the workplace. Active listening can help you understand the challenges of your team members and guide them effectively. Develop all forms of communication like writing, listening and speaking across channels like email, phone, in-person and social media.
Related: How To Overcome Communication Barriers: Benefits And Tips
3. Technical skills
Technical skills refer to the proficiency and knowledge of the various methods, procedures and processes at work. As a manager, you oversee the work of the other employees in your team. Strong technical skills can help you supervise your team and guide them in using the right tools and techniques. You can build your technical skills by taking short certification courses or attending webinars and industry events periodically.
4. Interpersonal skills
Establishing a positive relationship with your teammates makes it easy for them to trust you and listen to your feedback. You can encourage a positive work culture by communicating regularly and organising weekly or monthly team meetings that make it easy for employees to discuss challenges and feedback. Gestures like recognising achievements, offering active encouragement and taking a genuine interest in the professional growth of your teammates help you build a positive workplace that creates happy and motivated employees.
Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions And Examples
5. Organisational and delegation skills
A manager fulfils multiple responsibilities at work. Besides managing your work, you are also responsible for overseeing the performance of your team. So, efficient organisational skills can help reduce workplace stress, save time, optimise your performance and ensure that you meet crucial deadlines. A manager also requires delegation skills to effectively assign tasks to the right employees. Managers can improve their delegation skills by analysing the individual strengths of each team member and transferring the right jobs based on their skill sets.
6. Project management skills
A manager is responsible for overseeing the team's daily tasks while also focussing on long-term goals. Strategic thinking and forward planning can help you ensure that projects proceed as scheduled without delays. Following a senior manager can help develop your project management skills as you can see first-hand how they handle various day-to-day challenges. Strategic thinking involves encouraging innovative ideas from your team members and making your team more productive.
Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master
7. Problem-solving and decision-making skills
Managers deal with multiple problems daily. Thinking calmly under pressure and having strong attention to detail can help you identify and solve problems at the workplace. Creative thinking helps in providing innovative solutions that help in troubleshooting problems ahead of time. As a manager, building your ability to analyse the pros and cons of a situation and make an informed decision can help you improve your team's productivity, despite significant hurdles and challenges.
8. Negotiation skills
Negotiation skills play a vital role in a manager's skill set. Managers interact and negotiate with team members, senior management partners, business vendors and clients. Learning how to negotiate effectively can help you resolve workplace disputes amicably. Besides, negotiating skills can also work to your advantage when dealing with demanding clients, thereby making your projects more profitable for the company.
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