Many companies use the following traditional strategy when appointing new managers:
“You are the best seller we have in this company, and you have achieved outstanding results for many years, so naturally we think you also would make a good leader. So here you go; here is the management responsibility of the entire department. Congratulations, you are now our new Sales Manager!”
This is a BIG mistake.
Many people believe it is easy to be a leader and that taking on responsibility for an entire department or team is not something that needs extra competence or knowledge.
I think they are wrong, because being responsible for others than just yourself is a big assignment that you should definitely not take lightly. Good individual contributors do not automatically become good managers.
Not only does being a leader require a great deal of basic knowledge, but it also means you can no longer be the center of attention. Your time as a star is now over – and it is time for...
Here are our 7 tips on how to position yourself to get your first management job:
1. Be visible
Just as engineers and developers constantly need to update their technical certifications, you also need to update your knowledge and expertise as a leader from time to time.
The leadership role has changed significantly over the past decades. Leaders used to be authorities who gave each employee instruction on what to do and how to perform in their job. Then it gradually shifted to letting employees being part of realizing their own potential. And lately, all leaders need to know more about remote leadership. If you are used to having employees sitting all over the word, and also have culture that fosters flexibility and use of home office, you are already way head of the game. But if you don’t, you need to think about if there is a difference in motivating and engaging your employees in this new era.
Even with minimal changes, you should always update your knowledge so that you can be the best leader for your team.
Thinking that you know it all and that you...
I have interviewed a few hundred people in my career, and surprisingly many of them say that their ultimate goal is to become leaders. It doesn't matter if the job they're applying for right now is about consultancy services, sales, development, or for a trainee position for that matter. They all dream of becoming leaders.
When I ask them why, just a few justify it with the fact that they thrive on developing people and that they want to achieve results through others. Almost all the people I've spoken to say they want to become leaders because it gives them a place in the leadership team. They want to be a part of the decision-making processes, they want a seat at the table, and they want the power of the leadership position. This tells me that the “Leadership status” is something people want, and they don’t always think about what that role really entails.
Let's look at why this is a challenge, both for the managers, the employees and the company overall.
We spend a lot of our time at work. We are looking to thrive and grow in our workplace and in our role, and there are lots we can do ourselves to have a positive influence on our workplace and colleagues. Most of us want to be part of defining our own workday, and there is a big difference between being asked to work overtime and offering to work overtime.
When we are being told how to do our job or get rules and regulations, we feel boxed in. Most of us want as much freedom as possible when shaping our work life. According to Annicken R. Day, founder and chairman of Corporate Spring, we as people (and employees) primarily want five things:
Many of these points can facilitate a better working day for employees and businesses, and these will in turn affect our performance. Where we feel that...
Being a leader is not only about running the business, leading the company or team to reach the goals, it is about being a people manager and making sure that every team member is enabling their skills in the best possible way. It is not done by being forceful or pushy.
The best leaders know that people are individuals, real people that needs encouragement and follow-up. By being a leader who understands that employees are much more motivated by praise than criticism, and much more likely to do their best work when they are trusted, than when they are scared.
I once spoke with a senior account manger at a large international company who for most of his career had had leaders who led with fear. Making sure that the employees was afraid of them seemed to bet their highest priority. The account manager told me that this fear culture had led to everybody in the team being afraid and dreaded every 1 to 1 meeting with their manager. The leader did everything in...