Having trouble going from one job level up to the next? Join the club! Now more than ever, management positions are hard to come by and entry-level and mid-professional level positions are all too abundant. This can make it that much more crucial to be on the top of your game when that desirable management position becomes available and you have the chance to snap it up. So let’s talk about a few key elements (vocalized by top CEOs and mentors) that you’ll want to work on while you’re waiting for that chance to come.
#1: Team Player
Not sure why you’ve never been looked at for a management position even though you’re the go-to person in your role with the highest statistics on your team? It might have a lot to do with the fact that you’ve effectively left your team in the dust on your warpath to the top. While it looked like nothing but success for you on your road to become one of the Jedi Council, you’ve neglected to make sure that those who also report to your manager have been making your boss look bad.
And when your boss looks bad, that’s bad news bears for your future potential in management or a higher role. Whether you like them, hate them, or secretly think they’re part of the FBI on a sting operation, your boss holds the key to your success. And that means you need to make them look good at any opportunity presented to you.
This translates to being a team player that won’t let your colleagues look bad enough to land on the radar of any of the people above your boss. Because if your boss is approached about your team not looking so great and the only one who is slayin’ the numbers is you, that’s going to draw some heat in your direction. Where you were once your boss’ favorite unwavering totem, you’re now just the guy who put himself first and didn’t put in the added thought into keeping your boss off the naughty list.
#2: Walk Like a Duck
Take a good look at the managers and higher-ups above you. Imagine they came to you right now to pull you in for a group photo. Boom! Snap! Kerchick snip snap zip (the sound a camera makes when it consolidates the photo…)! The picture has been taken. What would you see? Would you see a team of perfectly fitting individuals or would you stand out like a sore thumb?
The idea of this exercise is to point out that human beings are fickle creatures that like to flock together. Psychologically, we tend to hang out with those who look like us and act like us (whether or not that’s good or bad). That means you’ve got to look like them, sound like them, and act like them as closely as you can without you taking their faces and wearing them like Leatherface (not recommended!).
If that means you’ve got to go to the store to grab some nicer clothes, you might need to pick up your best-styled friend and bring them shopping after work. If it means you need to clean up your potty mouth, you might want to start a curse jar to hold yourself accountable. And if your manager happens to be Elon Musk, just know that in that specific case, it doesn’t mean that you need to work yourself to the point of psychological breakdown and eventual dismissal. You get the point – emulate your higher-ups.
#3: Public Speaking Mastery
If you’re near any kind of management, you’ll notice very quickly that every last one of them seems to have the innate ability to talk about just about anything like they have been a master of it for years even though they’ve probably only been given that information minutes earlier at a management meeting. Picking up what I’m putting down? Management has to be quick on their feet and ready to deliver information at a moments notice to their team and other individuals.
That means you’ve got to be at the very least a proficient public speaker. If that’s not something you’d currently define yourself as, it’s time to get some training. Whether that means enrolling yourself in your neighborhood Toastmasters club or watching Youtube videos and then practicing what you’ve learned, just make sure that you’re not neglecting this in the hopes that you’ll somehow be able to dodge this requirement. Public speaking is a part of the job whether you like it or not. So you might as well be the one who rocks that presentation thanks to hours of practice rather than the one who your boss is worried to even deliver the opening hello to the team.
#4: Delegate to Operate
If your manager was left with all of their current underlings’ workload for one day, how do you think they’d do? Odds are, within only a few hours, they’d be so far underwater that they would be forced to retreat to the safety of their nearest bathroom stall to cry it out. That’s because it’s not your manager’s job to do your job. Their job is to delegate the work to get it done.
If you want that job, you’ll have to show you know how to do that as well. That means becoming the Yoda of time, task, and emotional management. Show that you know how to keep a tight ship when there are eleven million different tasks and demonstrate that you can not only keep them organized but that you can also make them call you daddy by the end of the workday.
And while you could easily discuss many more that may be more specific to your current job, it would be near impossible to do that here, seeing as how every job has its own set of most important managerial qualities. So do yourself a favor; ask your manager or higher up and get their own set of requirements or recommendations. And maybe bring them a cookie to get on their good side. Because why not?
Until next time,