Management is a demanding profession. At entry-level, these demands can seem even greater as you adjust to the role, taking on an entirely new and different set of duties to those you had previously.

Not only are you adapting to a new title, but also to a new level of authority and leadership. A management role places immense responsibility on the individual, which is one of the reasons achieving promotion to this type of role, or applying successfully for one, is so challenging. 

Making the move into management is an exciting, bold career move. What many managers overlook is how important it is to ensure your skills and knowledge are at the required level for the role. Indeed, your work outputs, ambition, and dedication have supported your career progression to this point, but as you start to increase your remit, you should look to broaden your management and leadership skills.

In this post, we explore some of the steps you can take as an aspiring manager looking for your first professional management role. We then recommend courses that will equip you with the relevant skills and knowledge to excel.

How to become a manager

Career progression is subjective. However, there are certain steps that will increase your chances of being considered for a promotion or being selected for an entry-level management position.

Below are the steps you should take to create these opportunities for yourself.

Research the requirements of a managerial role

Before you make an application, it’s important to be aware of what to expect in the role, as well as what the role requires from you.

Day-to-day outputs can vary considerably (especially for managers), but you should build a realistic idea of your potential responsibilities, and of the necessary skills for effective performance. You’ll then be able to demonstrate your suitability, highlighting your existing skills and detailing your professional development ambitions that align with the demands of the role.

You can conduct formal research by reading articles, career guides, job descriptions, or even having a conversation with a career adviser. You can also carry out a more informal style of research in which you observe the different managers in your organisation and ask them a few questions. You might benefit from asking other managers what their biggest challenges are, or what they wish they had done differently when first settling into their role.

Build experience in non-management roles

Building your experience in a less senior role can be highly beneficial. 

You are given a real-world insight into how the business operates, gaining an understanding of your prospects based on your skills, organisational needs, and your current role.

Gaining this fundamental understanding will allow you to be considered above external applicants, and could even encourage the business to facilitate your professional development needs in order to prepare you for future management roles.

Evaluate your skills

An evaluation of your skillset is an appropriate starting point that will enable you to establish a practical timeline for progression towards your management role. 

Studying previous performance reviews will objectively highlight any areas in which you’ve excelled, and similarly any areas that need improvement. If the review has highlighted scope for improvement in a specific area, you may be able to use it as supporting evidence to motivate a company-sponsored enrolment into a professional development course.

This proactive approach will give you a sense of confidence in your ability to plan ahead, and also illustrates your desire to be part of the organisation long-term. 

Leadership attributes such as decisiveness, integrity, and reliability, alongside skills including coaching and mentoring, the ability to solve problems, and relationship-building, are all indispensable in management. 

Do you have these skills and attributes? To what level? Your evaluation will call for honest self-reflection, and provide an invaluable opportunity for you to take ownership of your next career move.

Serve as a mentor

Becoming a mentor to a fellow employee is a clear way to demonstrate your potential to be a manager.

Your manager is likely to appreciate your support, as it frees up their time and reduces pressure on them significantly. By offering to be a mentor, your manager will be able to entrust you with the responsibility for the learning and development of a team member. 

Approach your manager and ask if there is anyone on the team (or in the organisation) who they feel would benefit from your mentorship. 

Successful mentorship of others illustrates that you can easily build relationships and work closely with other people, and volunteering to become one showcases your proactive approach.

Enrol for some relevant courses to increase your competitive advantage

Management roles offer a major opportunity for people to prove themselves by having a positive impact on the organisation.

Because management roles are so in-demand, there is a higher level of competition for them. Management training will strengthen your prospects of securing a managerial role by illustrating how you have taken appropriate action to become a success.

Relevant qualifications listed on your CV will help recruiters identify you as a top candidate, and may also assist automated screening software to get your CV noticed by the right people.

Beneficial courses at In Professional Development for aspiring managers and leaders

At In Professional Development, we offer several different courses in management and leadership that equip you with important skills and help you to secure your first role in management. We’ve highlighted a selection of courses we believe could assist you.

Emotional intelligence for leaders

When you’re new to management, you could find the role exceptionally demanding and potentially stressful. 

Our ‘Emotional Intelligence for Leaders’ course will enable you to cope with the pressures of management, including effective communication without emotional influence.

You’ll build confidence, enjoy increased self-awareness, and be equipped to manage sensitive situations in an emotionally intelligent way.

Conflict transformation: tackling conflict in the workplace

At some point in your managerial career, you’re likely to experience conflict between people. 

The dispute may be over deadlines, the quality of work, a colleague’s conduct, or other issues, but as a manager, it is your responsibility to navigate the conflict and steer it to a solution. Failure to effectively manage conflict can lead to poor performance, dissatisfaction, and increased staff turnover. 

The aim of our ‘Conflict Transformation: Tackling Conflict in the Workplace’ course is to train you to handle conflict quickly and effectively, preventing it from escalating and ensuring you can facilitate a speedy resolution. You’ll be able to improve relationships and productivity and create a more positive environment.

CMI Level 5 & Level 7 for the next stage of your career

As you build your management experience, we’d invite you to consider our Chartered Management Institute (CMI)-accredited courses at Level 5 and Level 7, which are designed for management professionals in middle- and senior-management roles respectively. The Level 5 courses support you in direct management, whereas the Level 7 courses focus on strategy.

Book your management training course with us

Management at any level is challenging, but it can be especially daunting at entry-level. 

With the right preparation, however, such as research into management and training that allows you to anticipate and meet the demands of a management role, you can put yourself in a position to convince superiors or recruiters that you’re a suitable managerial candidate. 

More importantly, you’ll be laying foundations for strong performance in the role and all future roles.

We understand you might need some guidance as you start out on your career journey. We’ll be happy to assist you in choosing courses that align with your objectives so you can enjoy continued progress in your career. To find out more about our management courses, visit our courses page, or send us an email to enquiries@inpd.co.uk, send us a message using the form on our contact page or call us on 0161 826 3139.


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