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How to Earn a Promotion to Management

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Are you ready to take the next step in your career and move into a management position? Even more importantly, does your boss think you are ready? The transition from being a team member to a manager isn’t always clear cut. You may excel at your current job, yet not be an obvious choice for promotions. Sometimes you need to take the initiative and make your case.

The Harvard Business Review offers tips on how to sell yourself as a manager without management experience. They recommend taking time to consider the qualities of the people who already hold the positions you aspire to hold.

Consider which steps you need to take to gain relevant experience. But most importantly, demonstrate leadership and communication skills within your current role. If you have good rapport with your supervisor, consider initiating a conversation to learn what how you need to develop

Before you approach your boss, prepare yourself. Put yourself in your supervisor’s shoes.  Business author Keith Rosen advises managers to have an in-depth conversation with ambitious employees about the sales career path. Managers should clarify the roles and responsibilities involved, and the criteria used when making promotion decisions.

Some Considerations to Prepare for a Managerial Promotion

  • Take the time to clarify the roles and responsibilities of managers within your organization. Would you adapt to the change in roles? How would it affect your life at work and home?
  • Take advantage of coaching and feedback as an opportunity to grow into the role you seek.
  • Gain a realistic view of the role, ask your managers open questions and if possible shadow one for a day or an afternoon.
  • Learn the expectations and plan your steps to reach those expectations.
  • Make sure you have the facts and figures. Track your successes, results, and outcomes. Often promotion decisions are based on the numbers. Be ready to make a case for yourself using statistics that show your strengths.
  • Approach higher ups with solutions and ideas rather than problems and complaints.
  • Make yourself an indispensable resource by investing in your knowledge and skills. Stay up to date on trends.
  • Dress-for-success guides use to recommend dressing for the job you want to have. This may not always be practical, but there is something to the idea. When you look and act like management material, people notice.

After you show initiative and reach out, your employers might start to see you differently. Once aware of your ambition, they may start watching you more carefully and considering whether you might be a good fit to take the lead on that new project or department. In the weeks and months following your conversation, be sure to bring your a-game every day.

As you work towards your goals, be sure to expand your professional network through LinkedIn and by attending relevant local events. Your promotion may come from your current employer, or it may come from another business. That is why the business gurus recommend that you network before you need a job.

With hard work and a little self-promotion, you may win that first management position.

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