How to decide if you're ready for management
Are you ready to be a manager? Everyone wants to move up the ladder at work, but not everyone is an ideal candidate to manage others and, for some, there are other paths to success.
To be certain, Gloria D. Abe, PhD and Felicia D. Harris-Foster, MBA — human resources instructors in the University of Phoenix MBA program — say it's best to take an honest inventory of yourself and your company.
Knowing who you are "is a critical piece of being able to prepare for a promotion," says Abe, the management area chair at the University of Phoenix San Antonio Campus and the president and CEO of her management-consulting service, Consulting Group LLC. Here are her five ways to evaluate whether it's time for you to lead:
1. Gauge your emotional intelligence.
"Is this a position I can handle?" It's a simple question, says Harris-Foster, area chair at the University of Phoenix Bay Area Campus and a Wells Fargo financial investigator. But, she adds, it entails a complex self-assessment, including an honest look at how you manage time, handle stress, solve problems and view leadership. Many times, adds Harris-Foster, the added responsibilities that come with a promotion require you to be decisive while also juggling family, stress and your direct reports. Perhaps you'll find you don't want to play corporate politics or take on all that the promotion encompasses.
2. Know your company.
Abe recommends researching your company's financial outlook, mission and/or customer objectives so you can hone specific skills or even narrow down what kind of promotion would best fit your talents and opportunities. Another approach, adds Harris-Foster, is to seek out a mentor or a respected colleague who can tell you what steps they took to rise within the company.
3. Communicate effectively.
Schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss your interest in a promotion, as well as your potential and options. But beware, Harris-Foster stresses. Your boss could suggest that you're not yet ready for a promotion and may point out areas in which you can improve. "Be prepared for that criticism and feedback because it can only help you," she says. This also means going into a meeting with a pre-written list of your work accomplishments so your boss can better assess your abilities, she adds.
4. Protect your reputation.
"Nowadays you can be judged by the depth, breadth and quality of your social network reputation," explains Abe. Hiring managers pay equal attention to your digital and office reputations, so it's wise to free yourself of negative online impressions, she adds. Further, notes Harris-Foster, "The higher up you get within a company, the more visible you become and the more people try to expose your vulnerabilities."
5. Rev up your education.
Obtaining a degree or relevant training, says Harris-Foster, "is not a guarantee you will get a job promotion, but it can help show management you are prepared to work hard and [are] stepping in the right direction."