How to Make the Jump to Manager
Published 10 months ago by Medet Ali
When we take that first step on the employment ladder, it is usually in the knowledge that we will eventually reach those upper rungs. We may not expect or even want to reach the very top, but inevitably, there will be a number of promotions that propel us into new territory. Those moments can be both validating and scary. Preparing yourself to take the next step on your career path is an essential part of your work life and could even result in accelerated progress.
Understand the expectations
Knowing what will be expected of you in your new role is the most important aspect of succeeding within that role. This is much more than knowing how to complete certain aspect of the job (you will not have been promoted if this wasn’t already evident). You will need to ensure you have the so-called soft skills required to work well at your new level.
- Be professional: You are now in a position where you will be looked up to and seen as an example of how to behave. You may be managing people older than yourself and new recruits. You need to offer the same level of professionalism to everyone. In particular this is the case if you are now working directly with clients.
- Be responsible: You are now in charge of the decisions made not only by you, but by those working below you. That means that if anything goes wrong, the buck stops with you. Taking responsibility for the wrong choices means that you are allowed to accept the praise for the good choices.
- Be results driven: As a manager, you will be expected to deliver the results that are required for the level you are now holding. You may have even been promoted on the understanding that you improve by a certain margin. You will continue to progress if you show that you are never treading water. It is your job to encourage those working below you to help you achieve those targets.
- Be friendly: A good manager is an approachable one and a future director is one that gets on with the people further up the chain. The way to promotion is certainly paved with good deeds. Personable people really do achieve great things in their careers because they are liked and respected. Regular lunches with your staff and one to ones with your partners will all help to take that next step.
While the above points are perfect for any new role, as a tax specialist you will know that there are particular expectations for anyone at manager level. Rather than the soft skills demonstrated above, you need to develop a set of hard skills that are useful to the firm. Your progression to manager needs to be viewed as a win to the firm and one that will result in more profit, an improved client base and a better reputation. That’s a lot to take on, but there’s no reason why being a manager in your firm isn’t possible.
Think like a business owner
Partners have a stake in the business and therefore need to take on the responsibility of the success of the business. That means understanding the culture, the future direction and the current status and having structured ideas on how these can be either maintained or improved. You need to bring something new and exciting to the table that will build on what already exists.
Develop a leadership personality – study the partners/directors
Partners are no longer managers or bosses, they are the inspirational light that all staff members look up to. They are seen as the pinnacle of the career ladder and therefore must project leadership at all times. Partners make big decisions on behalf of everyone within the company and therefore their choices need to be seen to be measured and constructive. If you fail to show leadership, you will never have the respect that is needed to push through difficult changes.
Be a mentor and be mentored
Yes, a manager should be a source of inspiration for younger staff members and potential high flyers, but equally the learning doesn’t stop. Managers should be willing to learn from others throughout their career and to actively seek out mentors who will support their continued growth. Just because you are heading to the top, it doesn’t mean you don’t still need a helping hand. This can extend to continued training and the learning of new important skills.
Managers need to know more about the industry than anyone else within the business. There needs to be an understanding of what is happening in the wider political spectrum and the knowledge to apply this to the business goals. This is where managers set themselves apart from the rest and how they make the right choices to meet business objectives.
Wherever your career choices take you, there will be times when you make significant steps up the career ladder. Knowing what is expected of you and how to behave and improve will ensure that you are a success as a manager.
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