How to Get Promoted into Management
Just do any basic Google search and you’ll find a thousand and one ways to get promoted at work. There are a lot of strategies to use – and some will be more relevant to you than others.
Instead of giving you a step-by-step guide that might not be entirely suited to your career development plans, we’ll introduce you to some of the key tactics that you can apply to any career development strategy you come up with.
Here’s our guide to how to get promoted into management.
Think about how you want to develop your career
If you want to get promoted, it’s worth devoting some time and effort to thinking about how that promotion fits into your wider career development. You shouldn’t just take a promotion on a whim – you should carefully think about how this role fits into your plans for your career in the long term.
Being focused on your ultimate aim will help you to get promoted into a position that’s a step in the right direction.
If you don’t have a plan already, make one! Think about your ultimate goal – your ‘forever’ job, where you want to work for the rest of your career.
Once you have that goal in your mind, work back and think about the various steps that you’ll need to achieve first before you can get there. It can help to think about spans of years and ask yourself questions like, ‘Where do I see myself in two years?... 5 years?... 10 years? Etc.”
Most people have quite ambitious goals – they want to be heads of department or senior managers, for example, and that will usually require a lot of experience, and a lot of ‘leap-frogging’ in terms of working in a specific role, to move further up the ladder.
Demonstrate inspiring leadership
Leadership – being able to inspire other team members to action and direct activity – is consistently rated as one of the most important skills to have if you want to make it in management.
That said, a lot of aspiring managers lack the necessary experience when it comes to leadership, especially in a workplace context. The answer is to find opportunities at work where you can develop and demonstrate your ability to lead others successfully!
It could involve something like taking responsibility for a project and using your own initiative to manage and complete it successfully. Or it could be proving to your manager that you can influence the outcome of a team project for the better, on your own.
Whatever situation you’re presented with, you need to be demonstrating leadership skills like:
- Strategic thinking
If you're looking for more advice on developing leadership skills, consider reading our blog about how to get management experience if you aren't a manager.
Identify an issue at your company that you can solve – and solve it
One practical tactic you can use to get promoted at management is to identify an issue at your company and use your initiative to solve it. This will demonstrate that you have the right skillset and aptitude to succeed in a more strategic role.
Here’s a step by step guide to find an issue that you can get to grips with:
- Define the problem
- Create a list of possible solutions
- Evaluate the solutions
- Choose one and implement it
- Monitor its progress and adapt
Unfortunately, there is some truth to that old phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. The quality (and quantity) of relevant contacts you have when it comes job-seeking and career development can make or break a promotion sometimes.
After all, how can you get promoted into management at a company if none of the hiring managers, senior managers or staff recruiting for the role know why you’re a good candidate?
The solution to this problem is to talk to people and expand your professional circle of contacts – known as networking in the business world.
We wrote an in-depth blog on how to network as a HR professional and the broader lessons in it should be applicable to most other professions.
Take responsibility for successes – and failures
Demonstrating responsibility is a key trait of a good manager and it’s something that senior management actively look for when it comes to identifying candidates for promotion.
Showing that you have the emotional maturity to be accountable for the things you get right and the things you get wrong will help to position yourself as a leading candidate for promotion.
The key to getting this strategy right is honesty and balance – you don’t want to be taking responsibility for achievements or slip ups that aren’t yours!
Make your boss aware of your achievements
Taking responsibility for your success also means telling the right people about it. A lot of great candidates never get promoted simply because managers in hiring positions aren’t aware of their achievements.
It might seem odd, but letting your boss know about every major achievement you make can really make the difference when it comes to positioning yourself as a great candidate for promotion into management.
Sometimes the easiest way to get to grips with the knowledge, skills and experience you need for a promotion is to study a professional qualification.
World-respected management qualifications are offered by professional bodies like the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). These are designed for managers at all stages of their career – they’re especially useful for people at the very start of their management journey.
In the entry level ILM Level 2 Certificate in Leadership and Team Skills, for example, you’ll learn a host of practical management skills that will set you up well for promotion, including how to plan and monitor work, how to develop your leadership skills and how to improve team performance.
Make your career development intentions clear
Your manager or boss won’t be able to promote you into management if they don’t know that you want to be promoted! Sometimes, the easiest way to get what you want is to be honest about wanting it. In the case of getting promoted, that means telling relevant people that you want a promotion.
A good first step would be to arrange an informal meeting with your manager and ask if they know of any upcoming promotion opportunities because you’re keen on progressing in the company. Even if there aren’t any current opportunities, that should put you on the radar for future opportunities – or at least make senior management aware that there is demand for promoting employees.
We hope you’ve found this blog useful and that it has given you some ideas about how to get promoted into management.
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