Ten years ago, I would have never said I would be in management. The idea of management seemed unattainable. However, as I grew in my love for leadership I saw a real desire for management. However, I had a problem, what do I do with that desire? What are the next steps? Here are four steps on the path to management.
Make Your Desire Known
The biggest mistake I made after desiring management was not making my desire known. I distinctly remember two conversations with two different superiors where they asked me about my desire for leadership. Thinking that I was being “humble,” I bumbled around saying something like, “well umm maybe, yea, that would maybe one day be cool.”
Stating you desire management is not prideful. As a supervisor, I love when my employees tell me about their desire for management because I can pour into that desire. I can help test, shape and mold it. I can give projects that will test the leadership abilities, and give other opportunities to grow.
Work Hard at the Small Tasks
If I failed in making my desire known, I succeeded in working hard in the small tasks. As a Christian, I believe that we are to work as we are working for the Lord, so everything that we do (even the small tasks) is extremely important.
I’ve heard Dan Dumas say multiple times, “I may not be able to out smart them, but you bet I will outwork them.” After first hearing this statement, I quickly sympathized with it. I have never been smarted kid in the class, but I have worked hard, never giving up.
Supervisors see when people work hard, even if that is a small task. They are more likely to give responsibility to those who they know will work hard and get the job done correctly.
Ask Questions about Management
If you have made your desire known and you are working hard on the small tasks, then the next step is asking questions about growth and management. Schedule a meeting with your boss and ask them specifically for areas in which you can grow.
You could ask some of these questions:
- Is there anything you would like me to do differently?
- How could I be more helpful to other people on the team?
- What are the best qualities of a manager? Of those areas, which ones do I need to grow in?
- What are your goals for this next year? How can I help you and the office achieve these goals?
- Do you have a specific “path to management” that I could follow?
These are just a few examples. Asking questions that are helpful on your growth and management is a key step on your path to management.
Live in an understanding manner
Before becoming a manager, I thought it seemed pretty relaxed. You just organize people from a chair in an air-conditioned office, and then go check on people when you want a progress report.
Boy was I wrong.
Management is one of the hardest things I have ever done. After becoming a manager, I realized the many different factors that play into any one decision. You have to think about organizational direction, desires of senior leadership, how your customers will be affected, how your staff will be affected, etc.
So what does this mean for you? It means, live in an understanding manner with your boss. They have a lot on their plates, they have a lot to think about, and the least you could do is support them when they make a decision — even one you don’t agree with.
A Journey to Management
In 2012, I became a manager. Now on the other side of the fence, I see the mistakes and victories I had along the journey to management. Now, over the last four years, I’ve been on a journey in management. Another journey all together.