While the path to management is rewarding, it is not for everyone. Just because someone is a good worker does not mean he or she is cut out for management. Success Labs, a top management consulting firm, estimates that “fewer than 30% of high-performing employees have the skills, ambition and personality for moving into senior management roles.” Taking a high-performing employees out of his or her element and thrusting him or her into a management position could mean disaster for everyone. Management skills can be learned, but they do not come easy.
How do you know if you are right for management? And if you are right for it, how do you know you are ready? One constant refrain among experts is that you have to want it. Many envision management as a common trajectory for every employee. However, Success Labs found “50% of high-potential employees say they don’t sufficiently desire a promotion”; at least half were satisfied with their current positions.
However, you may be reading this article because you aspire to manage others, so you want the necessary management skills. Wanting to manage, however, means working long hours and dedicating your efforts to the success of others. Marshall Goldsmith, executive consultant and author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, contends that in order to get into management, high-performing employees must “transition to a role where [their] job is no longer to be the star but to help others be a star.”
Interpersonal skills are necessary to assist others with reaching their potential. Clear communication is key. As management consultant Ginger Levin points out, “miscommunication with your stakeholders can obstruct the delivery of benefits, not only for individual projects, but for projects that comprise a program, and for the program as a whole.” As you move higher up the chain of command, strong interpersonal skills take on greater significance. Levin writes, “You must build a relationship of trust with each stakeholder, or stakeholder group, as quickly as possible, which requires discretion and diplomacy.”
Discretion and diplomacy are only two aspects of communication, and like all managerial skills, they can be learned. SkillsYouNeed.com reports that diplomacy is “centered around an understanding of other people and being sensitive to their opinions, beliefs, ideas and feelings.” Master communicators are good listeners. Since every management situation is different, listening to others helps you understand how to respond to their individual motivations and communication styles. And as Stephen Covey has said, it’s important to listen to understand.
How to Get Into Management
One path to management is through formal education. In fact, many management positions require an undergraduate degree or even an advanced degree such as an MBA. Even in positions that do not require a degree, the skills available in business management courses are indispensable. In addition to teaching manager skills, such courses can also introduce you to new technologies in business management, such as planning applications or bookkeeping software.
Although a career in management is not for everyone, it can be a rewarding path. Luckily, managerial skills are not innate, and there are strategies for dealing with conflict and ambiguity. Those who are cut out for management thrive in such situations, and they can resolve these issues while addressing all stakeholders’ needs.
Learn more about the TAMUCC online MBA program.