You started your career at the entry level, and for the past few years you've been toiling away as somebody's employee, but never as somebody's boss. You've always had a supervisor overseeing your work, but you've never had a direct report and so far, you've only had to take responsibility for your own work and your own projects.
At this point, you're setting your sights on the next level. Are you ready to sit down with your boss and make your case for a promotion? And if you're granted that promotion, will you be able to make a seamless transition to a leadership role? Keep in mind that "success" is defined differently for employees than for managers, and far too often, excellent employees stumble when they hit this milestone. Here are five signs that you'll make it over the threshold without a hitch.
1. You understand the difference between a great manager and a great employee.
Great employees jump when the boss says jump. They're chipper, always on time, and always wearing million-dollar smiles. They have plenty of can-do attitude and they never run out of elbow grease. They would never even think of uttering phrases like "I can't do that", "that's not my job", and "no". But managers use these words whenever they need to. Managers discriminate. They say no when they need to say no. They frown. They make decisions, they make mistakes, and they take responsibility for both. They don't just wait for instructions.
2. You've already tried your hand at management in an unofficial way.
You've spent some time training new employees, and you always make yourself available to coworkers who have questions or need help. You're valued as a guide and an information resource. Your peers trust you to explain projects and processes with patience, tact, and accuracy.
3. You've served as a leader, if not a manager.
Have you ever launched a new initiative in your workplace, from a recycling program to a product rollout? Have you ever taken responsibility for a reorganization or a new policy launch? If you've ever held a point position or taken the driver's seat on a project, no matter how small, make sure you mention this as you make your case for a promotion.
4. You know the difference between like and respect.
If you cringe when your coworkers disagree with you or tear down your contributions and ideas, the transition to management may bring some unpleasant surprises. But if you'd rather be respected than liked, and you care more about the progress of the group than your own desire for approval, than you're ready for the next step.
5. You understand the basics of your boss's job, not just your own.
If you can stay on top of your own overflowing inbox, that's great, and it's a sign that you've mastered the fundamentals of your current job. But as you take a step up, you'll need to master your boss's job. If you can do this already, your prospects look good.
Dust Off Your Resume
Before you arrange your meeting, you'll need to take out your old resume file and do some polishing and updating. Use MyPerfectResume to list your recent accomplishments and highlight your readiness for the next step.