Are you, or is someone you know, an individual contributor who wants to move into a management role, either with your current organization or a new one? But, how can you sell yourself as a manager when you've never actually been one?
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So how do you begin making the transition?
First, ask yourself whether you really want to move up. A certain proportion of the people who do their jobs well eventually get promoted into management, but some actually find that they miss their individual contributor roles and dislike managing other people. A management title or salary can be appealing, but in the long run, management may not be the professional role that you really want. If you're convinced that it is what you want, or that you at least want to try it, then get to work convincing other people that you're ready for it.
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- What are the requirements needed to advance?
- What are the skills that I'll need to demonstrate?
- How can I best demonstrate them?
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Eric showed that he was taking the bigger picture into consideration in how he approached his work. He treated each assignment as if he was the project manager, showing that he could "own the project". He over-communicated with his colleagues and his boss. By taking a proactive approach, he would not be seen as a passive participant, but as someone who could make things happen.
By actively showing what he could do, Eric was swiftly promoted to a management position that has developed and grown, much to his satisfaction and that of his company. He did this by making sure that the powers-that-be observed his efforts and were fully aware that he was ready to advance.
So what, exactly, should you say to your manager and when should you say it? Put in an early request for those watching you to be aware of your ambition so they can see it enacted. You can say things like:
- "I'm ready to move ahead in the organization" or "I will be ready soon."
- "I'm enjoying what I do and I look forward to taking on more."
- "I'd like to be a candidate for the manager position that's coming up."
- "I've only been here for two years, but I've learned a lot and I want to keep learning and growing."
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If your boss or mentor is someone who has strong beliefs about employees needing a long tenure in an entry level role, or a particular academic or training credential that you don't have, acknowledge it; for example: "I know that you value a longer stay at my level, but because of the current expansion of the business, I've been able to jump into a lot more projects more quickly than I would have otherwise." And, of course, you can often move up the ranks more quickly by looking outside of your current organization.
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