If you’re an entry-level or mid-career professional with leadership aspirations, advancing to a management position may be one of your top career goals. But becoming a manager requires more than just job experience; it takes mental and emotional preparation, as well as a broad business perspective to make strong leadership decisions.
To prepare for the next step in your career, you’ll have to pair your experience with cross-functional knowledge. Here’s how to shape yourself into a strong management candidate:
1. Prepare a year ahead.
You can’t ascend into the managerial level overnight. But with enough time, you can gain the professional experience to develop into a worthy candidate before you apply.
Here are some ways you can sharpen your knowledge and skill set twelve months before you seek a promotional opportunity:
● Volunteer for assignments that are outside your primary role, like budgeting, project management, delivering presentations, or assisting with departmental communications.
● Work on projects with direct contact to those who can promote you, such as executives or human resource managers.
● Ask questions about longstanding issues in your company and then pursue the solutions.
2. Learn all you can about the role you desire.
Managers are generalists. This means they have broader insight into overall business operations. And to lead, you have to do more than just be a subject matter expert for your department — you must know how each aspect of the business works as a whole.
Such understanding is vital for a manager. You should start considering ways to advance your skill set by learning the basics of marketing, accounting, data, business strategy, law, and other key areas of your organization.
You can learn about these vital vital business fields by enrolling in the Washington State University online MBA program. Our 100% online degree program can help you gain a greater understanding of business concepts that you may have never been exposed to in your current role.
3. Adopt long-term strategy over short-term goals.
While adopting a knowledge-centric, broad operational approach is key to becoming a manager, another aspect is the ability to think long-term. As a specialist, you live each day of your professional career focused on a list of short-term objectives. Managers think in terms of annual benchmarks and long-term goals.
This change of perspective can help you develop an ability to:
● Explain planned changes to your staff.
● Pivot or adapt to new deadlines.
● Identify when new directives from upper management will be implemented.
● Determine strategic goals for employees.
Regardless of your career background or focus, having this skill is critical for anyone interested in moving into management.
About WSU’s Online Master of Business Administration Program
Why settle on being a good worker when you can be a great manager? Studying at Washington State University’s Carson College of Business can grant you the wide array of business knowledge necessary to succeed as a manager and can also give you the credentials necessary to satisfy employers. Enroll in our top-ranked online MBA program today to see what it takes to become a business leader.