You've put in your hours, paid your dues, and earned your employer's trust. Now it's time for the next step forward on your career journey: a promotion to your first management position. You're ready to take responsibility for at least one direct report and possibly more. Which means you're ready to provide the coaching, training, motivation, and direction your teams will need in order to successfully contribute to the company.
But before you arrange a meeting with your supervisor to request a promotion, get ready to answer some tough questions. And make sure you're able to demonstrate skill in the following areas.
1. Critical thinking and rational discernment
Great employees are often rewarded for their obedience. At the entry level, employees who tend to receive the most praise and blue ribbons for excellence are those who jump in response to every command. They never ask why, they never say "that's not my job," and they always offer service with a smile. But when you cross the bridge to management, this knee-jerk, can-do attitude has to go. Great managers don't act without thinking. Decisions at this level are more complex, and instead of constant yeses and smiles, managers sometimes say no, and sometimes, believe it or not, they frown.
2. A focus on larger company goals
Instead of pleasing your immediate supervisor, you'll now need to factor the larger interests of the company into your projects and daily to-do lists. Your perspective will need to widen, and you'll need to set goals and make plans that extend beyond your daily inbox and into the long-term future.
3. The ability to work with others, not just for them
Standing up for your ideas when they're criticized, arguing, telling others what to do, and offering negative feedback aren't always easy. This is because they involve conflict, and conflict is inherently uncomfortable for almost everyone. But you'll need to gather your courage and face these conflicts head on if you want to succeed as a manager, and you'll need to this in a way that's diplomatic and effective.
4. The ability to manage complex schedules and budgets
These are the two higher-level tasks that employees often encounter for the first time when they step into management roles. These will both probably play an integral role in your daily tasks for the rest of your career, so you'll need to master them quickly.
5. The ability to criticize
Offering meaningful, effective feedback can present a serious challenge to new managers. Criticism is an art and a science, and it may take a lifetime to get this right. But you'll need to start now. Tune in, learn to listen, and figure out what brings real results and what doesn't. The faster you do this, the faster you'll earn the respect of your team and increase their overall productivity.
Start Building Your Case with a Strong Resume
If you know you can handle the skills and responsibilities listed above, you'll have to document your case and organize your arguments in the form of a convincing, professional resume. Visit MyPerfectResume and take advantage of the site's easy-to-use resume builder to get started.