While as a manager you no doubt spend some of your time recruiting new employees, training workers, developing people into future leaders and so on, it’s important not to forget to focus on your own career too.
There are, after all, always new goals to try and achieve, promotions to go for, and new skills to learn to make you even more employable. If you’re keen to further your management career over the coming 12 months, read on for three key things you can do.
Determine Your Goals and Make a Plan
The first step is to actually sit down and examine what it is you want to achieve during your career. Many people flounder over the years and end up stuck in a dead-end job or the wrong area because they’re not really sure where they’re trying to go. Once you get clear about your overall career aspirations though, you can set yourself short-term and long-term goals, and then find the best strategies to make them happen.
When you know exactly what your career goals are (e.g. to lead a team of over 100 or to become a manager at a Fortune 500 company), you won’t continue to waste time and energy on activities or people who will take you away from where you want to be.
You should examine things such as your experience, interests, values, special talents, skill set, and career mission, and pair these details with your knowledge of your industry and current trends. Doing this will help you to determine a plan of attack for the coming 12 months, five years, and onwards. Having this information in front of you will make it simpler for you to see which roles will get you to where you want to be, and which ones will take you away from that spot or just be a sideways, “treading water” kind of move.
Continually Learn New Things
When you work out your goals and then a plan of attack for achieving them, you may very well discover that in order to land your dream job, or be promoted to the next level, you need to learn new skills, gain knowledge, or improve your personal leadership qualities. As such, to become the manager you know you can be, continually learn new things.
There are lots of different ways you can enhance your skill set, improve your communication skills, practice your public speaking, and so on. For starters, if you don’t already have a higher degree, it’s worthwhile considering enrolling in an on-campus or online MBA or other business and management related program where you can hone your management skills, learn about current best practices, and network with other like-minded people.
If you feel this type of structured study isn’t for you, or if you need to fill gaps in your knowledge about specific topics rather than get a general education, you might want to attend workshops, go to conferences, bring in qualified speakers, or enroll in some other type of training. Furthermore, you can also pick up a lot from reading magazines, books, blogs, newsletters, studies, and the like.
Go and Make Things Happen
Lastly, don’t forget that managers need to be proactive people who don’t just sit around waiting for opportunities to fall in their lap, but rather who go out and make them happen. This is not just true in day-to-day work life, but also when it comes to finding new jobs and landing promotions.
If you want to be noticed by the right people at your current firm or at an external one, find ways to stand out for all the right reasons. For example, do what you say you’re going to do at work; get along well with others; be diplomatic, trustworthy and positive; find solutions to problems and come up with innovative ideas; go above and beyond in your job; and try to pre-empt the needs of your bosses.
As well, look for ways to attend key industry and local events so that you can network and make a name for yourself. Utilize online platforms too, such as social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, to connect with key people and develop your reputation as an expert in your field.
Furthermore, try not to be shy about actually asking for what you want. Remember that your supervisors aren’t mind readers, and may not realize you’re keen for more responsibilities or to be promoted. In addition, you may have colleagues, mentors, friends, family members, and other contacts who can introduce you to people who can help you achieve your career goals. If this is the case, it pays to ask for introductions and, if possible, testimonials, referrals, and positive reviews.