Being in charge isn’t easy, and while it might be easy to armchair quarterback around the office and talk about all the things that everyone else is doing wrong, it is a lot harder to actually do things better on your own.
Management – specifically strong middle managers – are often the lifeblood of a successful business: they have to supervisor workers, provide leadership, assure that tasks are done up to company codes and standards, and they must report to their supervisors for regular progress checks and evaluations.
The number one role for leaders in charge of a company is to ensure that every single employee reflects and understands the high standards of their company’s leadership, all the while understanding the differences between management and micromanagement. Even though it might be a challenge, I know you think you are ready to move up the corporate ladder, and the truth is I think you can do it, too… but there are a few things you need to know first. Want to show your bosses you are ready for the next step? Then read on and see if you have what it takes.
See Also: Is Management in Your DNA?
1. Pay More Attention to Detail
Since the manager’s number one role is to act as a quality assurance specialist for employees and production, you are going to need to pay more attention to details. You will be expected to be highly task-oriented, pay close attention to detail, correct the mistakes of others quickly and efficiently, and produce results that are as close to perfect as possible. Sounds easy, right?
All of this means that, if you want to step up to the next level, you will need to make sure your own work is very close to perfect.
It is far more effective to show your bosses that you are ready for management by producing perfect work than it is to tell them how good you can do. Want to be boss? Start working like a boss, start taking pride like a boss, and start acting like a boss.
2. Adopt the Company Culture
If you get promoted, then you will need to often act as a leader that works directly with the lower level employees. Leadership positions like high-level executives and CEOs create policies and business plans that are meant to encourage the company culture of their design. Managers bridge the gap between leadership and worker by reflecting these ideas, policies, and beliefs, and by ultimately ensuring that employees embrace the company culture.
A great company culture is absolutely necessary for a company’s long-term success. Just look at companies like Google, Starbucks, and Amazon: they were all built upon the back of the employees who embraced their corporate culture. Learn your own company culture and reflect its values each day; this is a surefire way to show your boss that you are ready for the next level. Being a cubicle clone isn’t enough for business success these days; if a business is to be great, then it must have its own special culture that encourages employees to grow and thrive.
AWAY WITH THE CUBICLE FOREVER!
3. Take on More Responsibility
As you move up the corporate totem pole, you will have a higher degree of personal responsibility for results and long-term outcomes. While employees are only responsible for their own work, you will now be held responsible for the collective work of an entire workplace, division, or office. Every time one of your subordinates makes a mistake, it will send smoke signals to the company chiefs.
If you want to show that you are ready for the next level of responsibility, then start looking for more opportunities to take on extra responsibility and tasks. Sign up to work extra hours, oversee projects, and become a team leader, if possible. You might even ask your bosses if there is some way that you can help out or take on an extra workload: all of these actions will show that you are ready to lead. Listen, a little bit of brown-nosing never hurt anybody.
4. Dot Your Is and Cross Your Ts
Most jobs come with a lot of red tape. You know, you need to make sure that you file a cover page with your TPS reports, or you need to make sure that company emails are always signed with the appropriate company signature. Things like these might be annoying as an employee, but these types of measurements are how you will be graded as a leader.
You will be expected to educate employees on company policies and ensure that employees adhere to the company’s expectations. If you want to show your bosses you are ready to manage and lead, then you need to make sure that you follow your company handbook to the T. That might mean attaching a cover sheet to all of your TPS reports. Yeah, I know: Bob from accounting doesn’t like it, either.
5. Practice Your Communication and Motivation Skills
To be in charge, you have to be a motivation and communication master to be truly effective. Great leaders have to be able to inspire workers and keep morale high in the workplace, but they must also listen to employee concerns and seek out ways to manage their concerns effectively.
Take charge at the workplace more, encourage others, and act as an intermediary between leaders and lower-level employees; not only will these things develop your skills, but they will also show your bosses that you are ready to be one of them. Practice your powers of communication and motivation by encouraging other workers to do more, and show what you are really made of. You don’t have to put on a leotard and become Richard Simmons, but a little motivation goes a long way in the workplace.
6. Apply for Open Management Positions in Your Company
Check your company’s website or job board frequently for any open positions that become available, and apply for them. Sometimes, bosses are so busy that they may not even notice all the extra work you have been putting in, but by applying for open positions within your company, you can make yourself show up on their radar a bit.
Applying for open positions brings you into the eyes of your boss and, for better or worse, they will start watching you more closely. Take the initiative to apply for these positions rather than just waiting to get promoted; it will make you look good to your boss, trust me. Just make sure you are ready for the extra attention, and do good work in the meantime, otherwise this plan might backfire.
7. Carry Yourself Like a Manager
To be in charge, you will need to be just a little more professional, a little more serious, and a little sterner than your average employee. That doesn’t mean you need to be a tightwad or a jerk, but you should definitely try to carry yourself a little differently than your average Joe, or Bob, or Larry, or…
Want to show you are ready for the next step in your career? Start taking yourself more seriously, be more professional, show up on time, be more disciplined, and start acting like a manager. If you are sneaking into work 20 minutes late, sleeping during meetings, and always turning in assignments late, then there is little chance that you will get promoted (unless you are the boss’ son), so to be a leader, you need to act like a leader.
8. Get Creative and Take Initiative to Find Solutions
Take on roles of leadership whenever possible and try to figure out new ways of doing things that can help out with productivity in the workplace. For example, if you notice that something is going on in the workplace frequently which prevents workers from doing their jobs effectively, try to figure out a short intervention plan and leave it on your boss’ desk or just mention the idea when you see them next.
Some bosses will appreciate your initiative, especially if your idea is a good one; just be careful not to look like a know-it-all. Magically fixing the company’s major issues will cast a spell on your supervisors, and they will likely summon you for MORE POWER!
See Also: Do You Have it in You to Be a Manager?
Management isn’t easy – it requires a lot more demand than what being a regular employee does, but it also offers a lot of incentives: more respect, more authority, more freedom and, of course, more money. If you commit yourself to developing the qualities of a leader, you are much more likely to get noticed by your bosses for these types of positions.
Apply for open jobs within the company, act more like a leader, pay attention to details, follow company policy, take on more responsibility, become a problem solver, be an example of company culture, and practice motivating and listening to others; all of these actions will demonstrate to your boss that you mean business and that you are ready for your corporate christening into the promised land.
Want to be a leader? Be a super employee, go above and beyond, exceed expectations, and just act like the best damn worker that you can be.
So, if you want to be a leader in the workplace, I encourage you to live by the motto: every man and woman in the workplace should not ask "What can my company do for me?” but rather "What can I do for my company?"
Have you been recently promoted to manager at work? How did you show your boss you were ready for the role? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments section below!