Developing Management Skills: How To Progress As A Manager

A good manager is aware of the need to keep developing management skills on a continuous basis. The speed of change in the workplace today makes this crucial.

For example, if you are a sales manager and have not kept up to date with social media such as Facebook and Twitter, then you are missing valuable sales 

Download our Practical Management Skills Workbook Series for a straightforward, step by step approach.

Here are some additional suggestions, depending on your level in the organisation.

1. Aspiring Manager

If you want to get on the management ladder, then you need to look for opportunities where you can practice and demonstrate your business management skills. The first step is to let your manager know of your intentions. If they are supportive, they will arrange management skills training, or give you tasks so you can develop your skills. Outside of work, enrol on distance learning management programmes and work towards accreditation.

If your manager is not supportive, or your options are limited, don't despair. We all have life management skills that apply equally well in the workplace. For example, chairing a local community group, managing a sports team, or taking care of the household budget. Developing management skills such as these will be beneficial and will help in your next job interview.

2. Front Line Manager

If you are successfully carrying out a supervisory role, Congratulations! Managers often tell me that the most challenging part of their role is managing people. And those in the front line are often directly responsible for large numbers of employees.

So what can you do to develop to the next level of management? Look for ways to broaden your skills in different management functions. For example, if you work in manufacturing, a period of time in QA could improve your ability to handle issues between the departments. Similarly a transfer from a sales or customer service function to logistics may work well.

Progressive companies recognise the need to develop a broad range of knowledge in their managers. Too long in the one position can lead to stagnation which is not good for business. If a short term job transfer is not feasible, then look for opportunities to work on inter departmental teams to broaden your knowledge of management skills.

3. Middle Manager

At this level you have proven your ability to manage a function. You have probably received basic management training along the way. So how do you prepare yourself for a senior management or director role? Developing management skills in these two areas are essential:

Strategic Thinking - at the top level, you will need to free yourself from day to day tasks that can be done by someone on a lower rate of pay. Sometimes it is hard to let these tasks go: you might enjoy them and you might also have a fear that unless you are busy, you are not adding value to the business.

So, how good are you at delegating? Now is the time to develop this important management skill. A senior management role will require thinking time - so that you can create a vision for the future and plan how you are going to get your business to achieve that.

Leadership Skills - if you look at what makes a good leader, the ability to inspire your team with a vision for the future is key. To develop your skills as a leader, focus on coaching your team. Bring out their innate talents and look for opportunities for them to learn and develop. If you want to progress to a senior management role, then it makes sense to prepare someone who can fill your shoes.

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