At some point in your career you’ll be presented with a management role opportunity. Not everyone wants to be a manager and certainly not everyone is suited to it. If the management route is one you want to explore, these are our top tips for getting you on the ladder.
Is management definitely for you?
You’re not going to secure a management job if the hirer isn’t confident that you really want it. The key thing to acknowledge is that a management job isn’t really a senior technical role, it’s a people management role. Even if the job description focuses on leading the project, most of your time is going to be spent organising the team. Don’t be swayed by the perceived seniority of a management role. If you would rather focus on being the best SuccessFactors consultant out there, don’t get distracted by management.
Recognise your management experience
If you want to pursue a management role you need to recognise your existing management experience. Before you say you don’t have any, I bet you do! Everyone has their first management role, some promoted from existing role and some applying to a new role. You’re not the first to take the plunge. Any people management experience is valid. If you’ve managed a team for a particular project or covered for your manager, that’s management experience. If you haven’t got experience in work, think outside. Have you managed a committee for your child’s school, a community project or even a building project? You may not want to put things like this on your CV but have them in mind at interview – it’s certainly better than an awkward silence!
Demonstrate your deep understanding of what a management role involves
You might not have the experience but you should at least demonstrate your knowledge of management skills. The fundamentals of management are the subject of many a blog post and it’s mainly the same information recycled. At least familiarise yourself with the theories out there. There are some great online courses including New Management Fundamentals on LinkedIn Learning. Spend some time getting a sense of good practice in management – it shows you’re serious and you’re keen to be the best you can be.
Case studies and role play
For applicants seeking their first management role a typical interview technique is for the hirer to propose a scenario and ask the candidate to explain the measures they would take. Brainstorm some issues that a manager would face and think carefully about some potential solutions. For example, what would you do if a member of the team had repeated absences and you doubted their explanations? What would you do if the team were making mistakes and denying responsibility? What would you do if two members of the team refused to work together? When you’re starting out these things may seem unlikely but any experienced manager will tell you a catalogue of bizarre behaviours they have encountered.
Finally, just be confident. No one’s first job was as a manager. They have all made that transition and now it’s your time.