The upward trajectory for many (or even the majority of) jobs culminates in a supervisory role, in which you oversee the work performance of a team of reports. Management positions often come with higher paychecks, more autonomy, and the ability to offer input on the company’s future growth. But even if you’ve been an employee for a long time and feel that you’re ready to move up, becoming “management material” isn’t just a matter of seniority.
The skills and characteristics required of an effective manager aren’t inherent to everyone, and if you’re hoping to grow into one of these positions of authority, you may need to correct a few behaviors and build certain strengths first. Identifying with any of the following four signs may suggest that you’re not quite “management material” yet — but that you can get there with some small adjustments.
1. You consistently have trouble keeping yourself on-task.
Most professionals are very familiar with the tempting nature of procrastination. If you’re faced with a choice between drudging through a task you loathe or messing around on Facebook for a while, the desire to do the latter is certainly relatable... but because managers must hold themselves accountable for their team’s performance as a whole, it’s crucial for them to understand time management and to keep themselves and their reports on track. If you have trouble organizing and prioritizing your own to-do list, how will you juggle the responsibilities of an entire team?
To correct this issue, set yourself up for success by creating clear work schedules for yourself on a daily basis, setting reminder alarms for deadlines, and halting your own desire to make excuses for incomplete or substandard work.
2. You talk far more than you listen.
We’ve all encountered bosses who talk and talk without letting their employees get a word in edgewise...but when you think of the most successful managers you’ve ever worked with, do those chatterboxes come to mind? Yes, supervisors must have a strong command of communication skills and must be able to express themselves in speech and in writing, but they also must prioritize listening to the views and opinions of their subordinates, their peers, and their clients.
If you find yourself talking far more often than you listen, then you must take active steps to fortify your retention skills. When engaging in conversation with a friend or a colleague, challenge yourself to recall specific details revealed by the other person and ask a follow-up question that incorporates that information.
3. You’re resistant to taking on added responsibility or inconveniences.
Of course, an excellent employee with management potential doesn’t need to (and shouldn’t be asked to) work oppressive hours or take on far more tasks than she can handle. However, if you find yourself consistently refusing to stay late or to help your coworkers with a challenging project when you have the bandwidth, then you won’t rise to the top of the list when your company’s higher-ups seek out candidates for promotions.
Luckily, this is a fairly direct problem to fix. The next time your boss asks for volunteers to stay an hour late to get an assignment done, raise your hand. If you’ve finished your assignments and your teammates need some extra assistance, offer your help before they have to ask.
4. You can’t separate your personal feelings and opinions from the needs of the company.
There’s nothing wrong with developing friendships with certain colleagues and with preferring to steer clear of others in a social context. But when you’re in the workplace and you want to be considered for a management role, it’s important to avoid clear biases. An effective boss can’t assign tasks and offer feedback solely based on her personal relationships with her colleagues. A certain amount of objectivity must be utilized. Encouraging yourself to view your coworkers in terms of their professional skills and achievements rather than how “fun” or “cool” you find them will provide you with a clearer perspective and will make your bosses feel more comfortable promoting you to a leadership role.