A manager who applies for a management job may not  be ready to do the job. They feel they can do the job because they manage the day to day tasks. They deal with employees, write reports, and do what they perceive as the manager, or general manager’s job.

You Accept No For an Answer

We’ve all attended those promotional seminars where we are told to speak up and make sure managers know what work we have done, and what we are capable of. We’ve all been told we won’t get the job if we don’t ask for it. We return to work eager to take our career to the next step, only to have our hopes rebuffed. There is no room to promote you. There is no budget.

This is probably not true. You could be put to the test. Statements like this can have more than one meaning. They could mean there is no room for advancement. This leaves you with two options. One, to stay at your current job and learn to be content. Two, to start preparing for your new career in management.

This doesn’t mean you need to start writing your resume. Now that upper management knows you have your eyes set on a management position then they may start grooming and mentoring you.

You don’t ‘Walk the Walk or Talk the Talk.’

Mangers do not gossip, dress casual or careless, and are not part of a clique. Managers need to be unbiased and objective.  Not because they need to treat people fair.  The real reason is that you can only effectively focus on one thing – people and drama, or productivity and profits.

Mangers also need to appear unbiased because favoritism, friendships, or dislike can often lead to problems with the labor board, and even a lawsuit. A manager needs to prioritize. At the top of their list of priorities is always short term profits and long term stability of the company.

You Cannot Manage Upwards

The ability to manage you’re the managers becomes more demanding the higher you climb the ladder. A manger needs to be skilled at developing and managing relationships with their bosses. This includes getting aligned with expectations, doing things the way the boss prefers it, and doing tasks without needing to be micromanaged.

This includes satisfying the requirements of your job, and taking some of the workload off your boss. Handle daily situations before they become problems.

This includes preventing employee problems from those down the line. This can include stopping toxic communication, lowering absenteeism, and increasing productivity. At least, pitch suggestions.

Toxic Communication

Ask any management candidate what toxic communication is and they will give you the wiki answer, gossip, back stabbing, complaining. Ask a manager if they are guilty of toxic communication and they will flatly deny it. The fact is, many of us are so accustomed to toxic communication we are unable to identify it, and we often excuse it.

Complaining, even for a good cause, is still toxic. No matter how good your intentions are, complaining, disrespecting, degrading, blaming, or mocking employees is toxic and can keep you from landing the promotion to manager

Anything that can ‘shut down’ another person is toxic. There is a difference between a request and a demand. Not listening,  correcting, or being moral are all types of toxic communication.

Learn to phrases sentences so that there is no room for an argument. Make comments or corrections about a situation. Do not make them personal. Do not make conversations ‘us’ and ‘them’, or make people feel that if they disagree with us they have less integrity or moral concern than we do.

We are constantly being forced to compromise. It can be frustrating. This can come out in our communication. Be careful with everything you say. Communication is a habit. After a while we become numb to the toxic things we hear, and say.

You Act Like a Boss

You may be the only one qualified to do your job. Maybe you are the one who created the new program. Maybe your team has saved the company a hundred thousand, but you need to realize that it has all been done before. You are not the ‘golden child.’

Some people act like the company cannot survive without them. Entitlement is hard to deal with in management. It slows projects down and causes discord.  It brings us full circle to the first issue – priorities. A manager cannot focus on themselves, their rights, and being valued and focus on what is best for the company.

No smart manager will promote someone who feel their team has earned a higher budget, or should be exempt from responsibilities and guidelines that apply to the rest of the company. 

One common belief that stalls careers is that your good work exempts you from doing a better job, or keeping a positive attitude. Your work may be good but when upper managers know that a bad attitude means less flexibility, discord in meetings, and ideas being shot down just because the candidate didn’t think of the idea first.

Social Intelligence

Social people are liked. A manager needs to be liked.  They can often help mange employees, and they are good problem solvers. But, social people are more concerned with feelings, friends, and family than projects, profits, and performance.

Social people also don’t assert themselves when projects are due. They think people should be concerned with their excuses when a job is not done correctly. They feel that they have a right to complain when they are not respected. They also have a problem accepting critical feedback.

A good manager can handle criticism. They do not own it, or take it personally. This is especially difficult when you thought you were doing so well it was time for a raise, or promotion. It’s human nature to want to defend ourselves, but it is not a professional or productive habit. The main problem with defending yourself is then you start laying blame, accusing, and attacking. It destroys the team’s harmony.

Management Candidate

After reading this you are ready to pursue your management career, or you have a blueprint for preparing yourself. Don’t worry about the end result. Becoming a manager is a journey that will continue until your retirement. There is no destination – it is a lifestyle.



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