How to succeed in management

Introduction:

In the competitive landscape of the corporate world today, climbing the ladder from lower-level supervisor or manager to a more senior role requires planning, dedication, and continuous self-improvement.  Aspiring leaders must navigate through various challenges, acquire essential skills, and demonstrate exceptional performance and how to succeed in management.  The good news? You don’t need an MBA, or incline to sycophancy to get there! This 10-step guide aims to provide actionable advice for individuals striving to ascend the corporate hierarchy and realize their potential as leaders.

10 Steps to Grow your Career as a Manager:

Here are the steps we recommend taking in your career journey:

1.    Understanding the Corporate Landscape:

Before embarking on the journey to climb the corporate ladder, it’s crucial to gain a deep understanding of the organizational structure, culture, and expectations. Familiarize yourself with the company’s goals, values, and strategic priorities. Identify key stakeholders, decision-makers, and influencers within the organization. Recognize the skills, traits, and competencies required for senior leadership roles.

See the Global course on UNDERSTANDING ORGANIZATIONS.

Quotation from John C. Maxwell: “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

2.    Set Clear Goals and Objectives:

Define your career aspirations and set clear, achievable goals for advancement. Whether it’s aiming for a specific position or acquiring new skills, having a roadmap will keep you focused and motivated. Break down your long-term goals into smaller, actionable steps, and establish timelines for accomplishing them. Regularly review and adjust your goals based on feedback, changes in the organization, and personal growth.

Quotation from Simon Sinek: “Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge.”

See the Global course on MANAGING YOUR PERSONAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

3.    Carry out Self-Assessments

Begin by conducting a thorough self-assessment to identify your strengths, weaknesses, interests, and values. Reflect on your past experiences, achievements, and areas for growth. Consider seeking feedback from colleagues, mentors, or career counsellors to gain additional insights.

Self-assessment tools are invaluable resources for managers seeking to gain insights into their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for development. Here’s an outline of a range of popular self-assessment tools along with detailed explanations of their formats and benefits:

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI):

The MBTI is a personality assessment tool based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types. It categorizes individuals into one of 16 personality types based on four dichotomies: Extraversion vs. Introversion, Sensing vs. Intuition, Thinking vs. Feeling, and Judging vs. Perceiving.

The MBTI provides managers with insights into their personality preferences, communication styles, decision-making approaches, and leadership tendencies. By understanding their MBTI type, managers can leverage their strengths, adapt their communication strategies, and build more effective teams.

StrengthsFinder:

StrengthsFinder is an assessment tool developed by Gallup that identifies an individual’s top five strengths out of a list of 34 talent themes. Participants respond to a series of statements to reveal their natural talents and areas of proficiency.

StrengthsFinder helps managers identify their unique strengths and talents, enabling them to focus on areas where they excel. By leveraging their strengths, managers can increase their effectiveness, engagement, and job satisfaction. Additionally, understanding team members’ strengths can facilitate better delegation, collaboration, and performance management.

See the Global course on DEVELOP YOUR LEADERSHIP SKILLS AND CAPABILITIES

360-Degree Feedback:

360-degree feedback involves soliciting feedback from multiple sources, including supervisors, peers, direct reports, and other stakeholders. Participants complete anonymous surveys rating the manager’s performance on various competencies and behaviors.

360-degree feedback provides managers with a comprehensive view of their performance from various perspectives. It helps identify blind spots, areas for improvement, and opportunities to enhance leadership effectiveness. By receiving feedback from multiple sources, managers gain valuable insights into their strengths and weaknesses and can develop targeted development plans.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Assessments:

EQ assessments measure an individual’s emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, social skills, and motivation. Participants respond to questions and scenarios related to emotional intelligence competencies.

EQ assessments help managers understand their emotional strengths and weaknesses and how they impact their leadership style and interactions with others. Managers with high emotional intelligence are better equipped to manage stress, resolve conflicts, inspire and motivate their teams, and foster positive workplace relationships.

See the Global course on: DEVELOPING EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

DISC Assessment:

The DISC assessment categorizes individuals into four primary behavioral styles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. Participants respond to questions to determine their dominant behavioral tendencies.

The DISC assessment provides managers with insights into their behavioral preferences, communication styles, and workplace motivations. By understanding their own behavioral style and those of their team members, managers can improve communication, collaboration, and team dynamics. Additionally, the DISC assessment helps managers adapt their leadership approach to better meet the needs of their team members.

Career Anchors Assessment:

The Career Anchors assessment helps individuals identify their core values, motives, and career preferences. Participants respond to statements related to their work values and career aspirations.

The Career Anchors assessment assists managers in understanding their fundamental career drivers and motivators. By identifying their career anchors, managers can align their career goals, job roles, and organizational fit. This self-awareness enables managers to make informed career decisions, pursue opportunities that align with their values, and achieve greater job satisfaction and fulfilment.

Leadership Style Assessment:

Leadership style assessments evaluate an individual’s preferred leadership style based on various dimensions such as task vs. people orientation, directive vs. participative approach, and transformational vs. transactional leadership.

Leadership style assessments help managers identify their leadership strengths, preferences, and areas for development. By understanding their leadership style, managers can adapt their approach to different situations, effectively lead diverse teams, and drive organizational success. Additionally, leadership style assessments facilitate leadership development by highlighting areas where managers can enhance their leadership effectiveness and impact.

See the Global course on DEVELOPING YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLES

4.    Research Career Paths

Research the career paths and requirements for your desired management position. Learn about the skills, qualifications, and experiences typically sought after in senior leadership roles within your industry or organization. Identify potential obstacles or challenges you may encounter and develop strategies to overcome them.

Be proactive in seeking opportunities for career growth and advancement within the organization. Explore lateral moves, special assignments, or temporary roles that expose you to new challenges and experiences. Volunteer for leadership development programs, task forces, or cross-functional teams that offer exposure to senior leadership and visibility across the organization. Be open to relocation or international assignments that broaden your perspective and enhance your skill set.

Quotation from Brené Brown: “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”

5.    Invest in Continuous Learning and Skill Development:

Invest in your professional development by acquiring new skills, expanding your knowledge, and staying abreast of industry trends. Take advantage of training programs, workshops, seminars, and online courses to enhance your expertise in areas such as leadership, communication, strategic thinking, and problem-solving. Seek mentorship from experienced leaders within or outside your organization to gain valuable insights and guidance.

Quotation from Marshall Goldsmith: “What got you here won’t get you there.”

6.    Build Strong Relationships and Networks:

Networking plays a pivotal role in career advancement. Cultivate relationships with colleagues, supervisors, mentors, and industry professionals who can support and advocate for your career growth. Actively participate in company events, industry conferences, and professional associations to expand your network and visibility. Be genuine, respectful, and willing to offer help and support to others, as networking is a reciprocal process.

Quotation from Brené Brown: “Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”

See the Global course on BUILDING EFFECTIVE WORKPLACE RELATIONSHIPS

7.    Demonstrate your Leadership Potential:

Displaying leadership qualities is essential for climbing the corporate ladder. Take initiative, show accountability, and consistently deliver high-quality results in your current role. Seek opportunities to lead projects, teams, or initiatives that showcase your leadership abilities. Communicate effectively, inspire trust, and demonstrate resilience in challenging situations. Be proactive in identifying problems and proposing innovative solutions that drive business success.

Quotation from Sheryl Sandberg: “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

8.    Embrace Feedback and Constructive Criticism:

Feedback is a valuable tool for self-improvement and growth. Solicit feedback from supervisors, peers, and subordinates to gain insights into your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Actively listen to feedback, reflect on it, and use it to refine your skills and behaviors. Embrace constructive criticism as an opportunity to learn and develop professionally. Take ownership of your development and strive to continuously improve.

Quotation from John C. Maxwell: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

9.    Navigate Office Politics with Diplomacy:

Office politics are inevitable in any corporate environment. Navigate them with tact, diplomacy, and integrity. Build alliances with influential colleagues and stakeholders while remaining neutral and objective. Avoid gossip, favoritism, and divisive behavior that can undermine your credibility and relationships. Focus on building a reputation as a team player who prioritizes collaboration and consensus-building.

Quotation from Simon Sinek: “Leadership is not about being the best. It is about making everyone else better.”

10.   Promote Your Achievements and Value:

Don’t be shy about showcasing your accomplishments and contributions. Keep track of your achievements, milestones, and successful projects. Quantify your impact whenever possible, using metrics and data to demonstrate tangible results. Highlight your strengths, skills, and leadership potential in performance evaluations, meetings, and conversations with decision-makers. Position yourself as a valuable asset to the organization, deserving of advancement.

Quotation from Marshall Goldsmith: “The only way to get better is to hear the truth, and the only way to hear the truth is to ask for it.”

Some final notes of caution – What Not to Do!

While it’s essential to focus on positive actions that foster career advancement, it’s equally important to avoid common pitfalls that can derail your progress. Here are some things to avoid:

  • Neglecting Professional Development: Avoid becoming complacent in your current role and failing to invest in your professional development. Continuous learning and skill development are essential for staying relevant and competitive in today’s dynamic business environment.
  • Burning Bridges: Avoid burning bridges with colleagues, supervisors, or stakeholders, even if you encounter challenges or conflicts. Maintaining positive relationships and professionalism is crucial for long-term career success.
  • Playing Politics at the Expense of Integrity: While navigating office politics is necessary, avoid compromising your integrity or values for personal gain. Build your reputation on trust, honesty, and ethical behavior.
  • Resisting Feedback: Avoid being defensive or resistant to feedback, even if it’s difficult to hear. Embrace feedback as a tool for growth and improvement, and demonstrate a willingness to learn from others.
  • Lack of Adaptability: In today’s fast-paced business world, adaptability is key to success. Avoid being resistant to change or unwilling to embrace new ideas, technologies, or ways of working.
  • Overlooking Networking Opportunities: Avoid isolating yourself or failing to actively engage in networking opportunities. Building strong relationships and networks both within and outside your organization is essential for career advancement.
  • Ignoring Organizational Politics: While it’s important to navigate office politics with diplomacy, ignoring them altogether can be detrimental. Stay informed about power dynamics, alliances, and potential conflicts within the organization to navigate them effectively.

By avoiding these common pitfalls and focusing on positive actions and behaviors, you can position yourself to succeed in management and climb the corporate ladder.

Conclusion – How to Succeed in Management:

Climbing the corporate ladder requires a combination of strategic planning, continuous learning, leadership skills, and effective networking. By setting clear goals, investing in your professional development, building strong relationships, and demonstrating leadership potential, you can position yourself for success in your career journey. Embrace feedback, navigate office politics with diplomacy, and seize opportunities for growth and mobility. With dedication, perseverance, and a strategic approach, you can ascend to higher levels of leadership and achieve your career aspirations.

To take the next steps to rapidly advance your career in management, view the Global ACCREDITED MANAGER QUALIFICATIONS the cost effective, time efficient pathways to climbing the career ladder.

References

John C. Maxwell – Renowned leadership expert, speaker, and author of numerous best-selling books including “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” and “Developing the Leader Within You.”

Simon Sinek – TED Talk speaker and author of “Start With Why” and “Leaders Eat Last,” known for his insights on leadership, organizational culture, and the importance of purpose-driven leadership.

Marshall Goldsmith – Executive coach, author, and leadership thinker known for his work on behavioral coaching and the concept of feedforward. He has authored bestsellers like “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” and “Triggers.”

Brené Brown – Researcher, speaker, and author focusing on topics such as vulnerability, courage, and empathy in leadership. Her books include “Dare to Lead” and “The Gifts of Imperfection.”

Sheryl Sandberg – COO of Facebook and author of “Lean In,” advocating for women’s leadership and empowerment in the workplace. Sandberg offers valuable insights into career advancement, mentorship, and overcoming challenges in male-dominated industries.

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