If you have dreams of managing hundreds or thousands of employees at a large firm or want to eventually run your own big business, it’s important to grow yourself as a leader. This is the case whether you’re currently in a management position, or want to be in the future.
The people who further their careers in management don’t stay static. Instead, they keep developing new goals to achieve and look for promotions to pursue and additional skills to learn along the way to make them more desirable as leaders. If you want to further your management career over the coming weeks, months and years, read on for some key steps you can take to make it happen.
Know Where You Want to Go and Create a Plan
To begin with, you need to know where you want to go with your management career. Take time to become clear about your goals, so you don’t inadvertently find yourself stuck in a dead-end job. You should have both short-term and long-term aspirations in mind.
The goals you set could relate to the size of the team you want to lead, what type of business you want to work at, how much you want to earn per year and other factors. Regardless of what you wish for, by getting clear on your desired results, you will be better able to come up with strategies to make them happen and avoid wasting your time and energy on the wrong paths.
Once you have a direction to head in, create a plan for your career. Think about what kinds of activities you can do now and into the future, which will help you get where you want to go. When designing your plan, consider elements such as your values, interests, experience, skill set, special talents and mission, as well as the industry you’re in and the trends you can see in it.
Keep Learning and Growing Your Network
To be the best manager possible, you must also find ways to keep learning. Top achievers are always those people who improve and don’t rest on their laurels. You must develop new skills and keep broadening your knowledge over time. This will help to make you much more appealing to businesses that are after top managers.
To grow yourself, consider enrolling in a relevant management degree, such as an AACSB-accredited online MBA. During this kind of study, you’ll not only learn about different management styles and techniques, as well as tips on running an organization, but you’ll also likely meet a variety of interesting, like-minded people who can be key contacts for you during your career. Growing your network is vital if you want to get to the top of your industry.
On top of university studies, also consider developing yourself and your relationships by attending relevant trade shows, conferences and other industry events; joining business associations and clubs; attending short courses and talks; and networking on social media. You can also grow by finding a mentor to guide and teach you and by reading magazines, books, papers, blogs, newsletters and the like.
Find Ways to be Proactive
When it comes to becoming a well-respected, sought-after manager, you must demonstrate plenty of initiative. To get to the top as a leader, you need to go after opportunities and continually think about ways in which you can be proactive to make things happen.
For example, don’t be too scared to ask for what you want. If you are eyeing a higher management role in your current company, make sure your bosses understand that you’d like to be promoted. Bring up your aspirations and ask them what you need to do to get there.
While you might worry that being bold like this could be taken negatively, such as you being pushy, the fact is that as long as you are assertive rather than aggressive and have been working hard and seem committed to the firm, your superiors are likely to be relieved to hear you want to advance. Many employers are often searching for people they can promote and develop and will be thrilled that you are putting your hand up for new and more challenging responsibilities. Once they know what you want to achieve, they can keep you in mind for future positions and other career-making opportunities.