Learn How to Become a Manager With These Simple Steps
Management jobs are highly sought after in the professional world, and for a good reason. They offer many benefits, opportunities for advancement, and the chance to lead a successful team. But how do you become a manager?
This article will fill you in on everything you need to know about becoming a manager, from what the role entails to the steps involved in reaching a management position. We will also recommend some reading to help get you started on your quest to become a fantastic manager.
Management roles can involve having responsibility over employees and business operations but may also include other duties.
Not all management jobs require the same qualifications.
Understanding your skills and competencies is essential to starting your journey to becoming a manager.
Management books, courses, and other resources are a great way to prepare for a management job.
Finding the right management role for your career requires thoughtful consideration and judgment.
What is a management job?
Management jobs involve the responsibility of overseeing and leading the work of other people or a particular function. Depending on the organization or company, managers may have a variety of duties.
Management responsibilities include making decisions, setting goals, and developing strategies for achieving those goals. Often managers are also put in charge of evaluating performance, disciplining employees, and managing budgets.
What qualifications are required to become a manager?
The great thing about management jobs is that they can have different entry requirements. Typically, employers look for applicants with a degree in a relevant field, such as business or management. However, some organizations may also accept applicants without a degree but with relevant experience in a relevant life experience.
The management title is attainable to anyone willing to put in the hard work and dedication (regardless of whether you have a degree or experience). Learning from specialized management books is a great place to start if you want to expand your knowledge. The Headway app has a library of lessons in management waiting for you to check out.
Four Key steps to becoming a manager
The path to becoming a manager can seem daunting, but it is in no way impossible. It may also look different for some compared to others. For example, certain jobs and mentorship programs offer professionals a fast track to management positions, while others start at entry-level and have to work their way up.
Whatever the case, there are some areas everyone should consider to get that dream management role. Here are four key steps to becoming a manager:
1. Understand your skills
When trying to become a manager, the first order of business is pretty straightforward — get an idea of who you are. Both as individuals and professionals, we all have a unique set of skills and abilities. What do you bring to the table? A growth-oriented mindset? Fluency in multiple languages? Logical thinking?
Taking stock of what you have to offer can paint a picture of where you are in the grander scheme of things and also outline your path forward. Although no two people are the same, it’s recognized that all managers must possess some basic characteristics to succeed in the role. In some cases, these competencies come naturally, while others have to learn them.
Start by exploring your specific skill sets, both hard and soft, by creating a list. Once you have your list, organize everything into categorical chunks and compare them to what you need to become management material.
Some essential skills to focus on include:
Good Communication: Communication skills are one of the most important qualities a manager should have. They refer to the ability to convey information clearly, listen carefully and respond appropriately.
Decision-Making: Managers must be able to make sound decisions based on factual information and analysis. They must be able to analyze the available data and make decisions that are in the company’s best interest.
Problem-Solving: Problem-solving skills are a must-have for managers as they often have to tackle complex and challenging issues. They should be able to identify problems, analyze them, and develop effective solutions.
Organizational Skills: Organizational skills refer to the ability to plan, prioritize and manage multiple tasks. Managers must be able to oversee their teams and create processes and systems that can help streamline workflows.
Leadership: Above all else, managers guide their teams and provide direction. Leadership is the quality of inspiring others and instilling trust in them that you know what you’re doing and can take them to the promised land.
If you’re having trouble determining what skills you do and don’t have, taking a personality or competencies assessment can be a great way of getting an unbiased idea. These quizzes use strategic questions to determine your strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement. Most will generate some form of a report which you can use for your reference afterward.
It’s okay if the skills on your list don’t align with those of a manager at first — everyone is unique, and this first step is only about understanding what you have to work with. It’s okay if the skills on your list don’t align with those of a manager. Everyone is unique, and this first step is only about understanding what you have to work with.
2. Invest in yourself
Now that you have an idea of where you stand, it’s time to start the building process. What are you missing? What steps are required to get where you need to be? The answers to these questions will vary depending on your specific situation but are essential to putting things into action. Use your list from the earlier section to highlight what skills you need for management work and any hard qualifications or experiences.
Start by finding ways to fill those gaps. If you lack credentials, consider investing in a certification course or program. If you need to practice your communication skills, sign up for a public speaking class or join a Toastmasters club. There are also plenty of online resources and self-paced programs you can use to learn more about managerial topics.
The important thing is that you are actively doing something to improve. You can also look for mentors in your industry who have already achieved success and leverage their advice to propel you forward.
Management books can be a great place to gain insight if you’re not connected enough to find someone. They’re written by accomplished professionals and tend to cover many topics.
Some top picks to consider include:
How to Win Friends & Influence People: In a Digital Age by Dale Carnegie and Associates
While the original was published all the way back in 1936, Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends & Influence People has remained a top read for aspiring managers. It discusses the intricacies of leadership in depth while also offering practical advice on how to navigate challenging conversations.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
Authored by world-renowned leadership expert Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People gives people a powerful lesson in both personal and managerial skills. The book outlines seven core practices necessary for successful leadership, all of which are worth learning if you’re trying to become a manager.
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John C. Maxwell
Managers must possess strong leadership abilities, but not everyone is born with that trait. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell is a great place to start if you need to brush up on your leadership skills. It delves into the various aspects of leadership and provides practical tips from one of the world’s foremost experts in the field.
First Things First by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merill, and Rebecca R. Merrill
If you’re struggling with decision-making skills, this book is a great read to consider. It teaches readers the importance of goal-setting and how to prioritize tasks to be more productive.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
Emotional intelligence is an incredibly important skill for managers. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves can help you learn about the different aspects of emotional intelligence and how to apply them in your daily life.
3. Prepare your collateral
You should take notes as you pick up skills and knowledge from books, courses, and mentors. Remember, no one will be able to go back and look at the hard work you put in if you don’t have it on paper.
Also, keep track of all the certifications, workshops, and seminars you go through. If you’re doing any independent research or creating presentations for work, make sure to save those too.
You could also create a portfolio with a collection of your work samples and accomplishments to showcase your skills to potential employers or mentors. This should include any awards you’ve received and positive feedback from past employers or clients.
Your collateral can be the difference between getting a job or not, so make sure to keep it updated and organized.
Some top tips to keep in mind:
keep an ongoing list of your accomplishments;
note situations where you exhibited strong managerial skills;
get numbers that quantify your performance;
save certificates, letters of recommendation, and other evidence of success;
create a portfolio website or document with your work samples;
make sure to update your collateral regularly.
4. Look for opportunities and network
Once you’ve prepared your collateral, it’s time to look for opportunities. Start by talking to people in the industry. They may be able to provide you with advice, recommend job postings, or even put in a good word for you. You can also join networking platforms like LinkedIn to connect with like-minded people and industry professionals. This is an excellent way to build relationships and gain insights into the field you’re interested in.
When it comes time to start applying for roles, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t be looking for just any job. Instead, be on the hunt for a real opportunity. But what’s the difference, you may ask?
A ‘job’ is employment that meets your needs on paper. It involves a transactional relationship with an employer and doesn’t extend beyond the here and now.
On the other hand, an ‘opportunity’ is a chance to grow and learn. It’s a two-way street — you and your employer benefit from the relationship. You get to take on challenges, explore new areas of expertise and ultimately expand your professional development for future endeavors.
This concept is essential when browsing the market for work as a manager. The role isn’t entry-level, and you’ll have to work to get there in some cases. It’s also meant to be a long-term commitment, so make sure you look for positions that give you room to grow and develop as an individual.
The difference between a good and bad management opportunity
If you’re uncertain about what separates a good management opportunity from a bad one, then it pays to look out for the following red flags:
No Clear Path for Advancement: A good management opportunity will provide a clear path for growth and development. You should have the chance to learn new skills, take on extra responsibility, and potentially get promoted in the future.
Lack of Resources: Poor management jobs often don’t provide adequate resources for their team to succeed. If a company isn’t investing in its management staff, it likely won’t have the means to help you reach your full potential.
Unrealistic Expectations: When a company sets the bar too high for its managers, it’s a sign that the job isn’t worth your time. Your employer should be aware of your limitations and the resources available rather than pushing you to burnout.
While any job promising the title of ‘manager’ might be appealing, it’s important to use diligence when applying for positions. If you fail to do so, the work you put in for every other step of this process will ultimately go to waste.
Becoming a manager requires dedication, hard work, and networking. It’s important to have the right skills and experience to land the job and to demonstrate your leadership capabilities. Just remember, the journey to success is not always a fast one. With time, dedication, and patience, you can reach your goal.
If you’re looking for a simple way to enrich your professional growth, consider downloading the Headway app. It’s loaded with bite-sized takeaways from the world’s most popular management books that you can apply to your career — without having to read anything cover-to-cover. You can view 15-minute management book summaries, daily insights, and more that can help you develop your management skills on the go.
What qualifications do you need to become a manager?
To become a manager, you must have the necessary skills, experience, and qualifications. Employers require both technical and soft skills, such as problem-solving and communication. Depending on the sector and level of management you are seeking, you may need certain certifications or qualifications.
How do I become a manager with no experience?
Becoming a manager without experience is possible, but it will require dedication and hard work. Start by building up your skill set in areas such as problem-solving, communication, and team building. You can also look for entry-level management roles or internships to gain experience in the field.
How long does it take to become a manager?
There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on many factors. It can take a few months to several years to become a manager, depending on the company and sector you are working in and your experience and qualifications. Ultimately, being patient and consistent in your efforts to reach your goal is important.