becoming a manager

Becoming a Manager: 3 Ways to Prepare as a Young Professional

Becoming a manager doesn’t happen overnight. After all, it takes time to become acquainted with the purpose, values and structure that define your organization. On top of that, you need to make sure you’ve got the nuts and bolts of your specific role down cold before making that next step. Combine all of that with the extra responsibility of supervising different personality types and work styles, and becoming a manager can seem like quite the tall order.

Thankfully, the first step is an easy, albeit often overlooked, one. To get started, it’s always important to communicate to your current manager your desire to move up into a managerial role someday. Be clear and state your intentions out loud: “I want to become a manager.” Words have power! Once you put it out there, not only does it become a real goal for yourself, but those around you can help to support your pathway towards becoming a manager.

After vocalizing your aspirations, here are three ways to prepare on your way to becoming a manager:

Understand Yourself

Before you can lead others, it is extremely important to understand yourself and the way you approach your work. Every manager manages their team a little bit differently, so now’s the time to find the unique style that works best for you. By recognizing both your strengths and (more importantly) your weaknesses, you’ll have a better understanding of which responsibilities to assign to others, how you tend to react in certain situations and what your limitations as a manager might be.

One way to dig into what makes you tick is taking a behavioral assessment. These exams, also referred to as personality tests, usually consist of a wide range questions that can uncover your hidden motivators, conflict style, problem solving process and core values. After you’ve evaluated your results, you can also have your team take the same exam to see where your drivers might align and where they diverge, helping you to better tailor your management style to each individual.

Mentorship Matters

Mentorship is a two-way street! It can be extremely beneficial to find an experienced mentor of your own, and it is equally valuable to gain the experience of acting as a mentor to others. Being a mentee, you can pick up great pieces of advice from a leader who had already been through the ups-and-downs of the managerial process. By mentoring others, you can start learning skills that are integral to managing a team, including delegation of tasks, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence. Illustrating to your organization’s leadership team that you’re willing to take extra time out of your day to take someone under your wing is a great way to say, “I’m ready to take on the challenge of managing others.”

Crunch Those Numbers

Do you have nightmares about spreadsheets? Does that thought of long division send shivers down your spine? Trust me, you are not alone. However, the reality is that, as a manager, it is extremely important to be able to quantify your team’s impact. While you might not able to complete your MBA before your first management role, having a general understanding of major metrics that affect your team and organization can go a long way towards setting you up for managerial success. It’s much easier to set realistic goals and show the strides your team is making when you understand the language of the boardroom.

While managers aren’t created with the stroke of a wand, there are some steps you can take to prepare yourself for the opportunity. How would you advise others to get ready for becoming a manager in their organization? Share your tips below!

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