Lately, when given the chance, I have asked recruiters what they look for in candidates who strive to become managers, but lack management experience.
In short, they answer: decisiveness, communication skills and a holistic organisational understanding. But you do not need a formal managerial role to support these skills.
Are you decisive and do you take on extra responsibility in your present position? The odds are that you will act accordingly as a manager.
Do you have a knack for communication and a track record that backs it up? Nothing will stop you from communicating effectively as a manager.
How do you work with colleagues, managers and clients? Is your attitude aligned with the company values, and does it contribute to the company’s core business?
Why do you want to?
There is more to management than a mere skillset. When asked why you want to be a manager, it is critical that you know the answer. “I like being in charge” is not going to cut it.
What, apart from a noisy alarm clock and a coffee as strong as Zeus, can get you out of bed in the morning? Results and influence are often key drivers, but what makes you tick?
Is it: the ability to create results through others; the urge to make a difference; and a preference for holding the reins rather than being a horse?
How will you lead?
Likewise, it is important to consider how you will act as a manager. Are you comfortable with the responsibility that follows a management position? As a manager, you are exposed; you are the lunch topic of your team, which stresses the importance of how you act your part.
Moving on, identify a role model for you as a manager, be it a teacher or a former boss. How did they inspire you and what characteristics did they demonstrate? Do you need to change your attitude or characteristics to be more like your role model?
Display the required skillset, and know your why and how, and you are a step closer to your first position as a manager.