How to Develop Management Experience Even if You’re Not a Manager

How can you get a management position when you lack management experience? While you may not be able to list the title of the manager on your resume, there are plenty of ways to demonstrate that you’re ready to assume more responsibility.

Start by thinking about what being a manager means. You’d be responsible for the projects that you oversee and the performance of the employees that report to you. Then, look for ways to develop such abilities using your current job and other opportunities. These ideas will help you get started.

Steps to Take on the Job

1. Assess yourself.
Examine your abilities and ambitions. Maybe you want to be a manager or maybe you prefer doing research or creative tasks on your own. Be honest about your strengths and the areas where you would like to grow.

2. Pick a project.
There’s probably some project that your boss would be happy to have help with. You can start small by organizing a charity run or redecorating the lobby.

3. Crunch numbers.
Budgeting and forecasting are part of most manager’s job descriptions. If you have a facility with numbers, ask if you can contribute to the process.

4. Help with hiring.
Smart companies often think of recruitment as an ongoing activity. Until you have employees to supervise, you may be able to get some practice by joining the selection committee or participating in group interviews. That could also lead to a bigger role in training and onboarding new hires

5. Propose solutions.
Identifying challenges and how to address them is one way to help your boss recognize your potential. Ask for a meeting and go in armed with a list of options for landing a new client or replacing outdated equipment.

6. Look at the big picture.
To be a leader, you have to be knowledgeable about the entire company as well as your own area. Pay attention to industry trends and how your job impacts organizational priorities.

7. Speak up.
Advocate for yourself. Let your boss know that you’re interested in taking on more responsibility and willing to earn greater trust.

8. Be professional.
Remember the basics. A manager needs to set an example for being punctual and courteous.

Steps to Take on Your Own Time

1. Read a book.
A successful manager is committed to learning. Ask your boss or a business librarian for titles that they would recommend.

2. Take a course.
Contact a local university or browse online for classes that would be helpful for your career. You may want to complete a short certification program or acquire an additional degree. See if your company offers tuition reimbursement benefits.

3. Interview others.
Do you have contacts in your network who are doing the kind of management work that interests you? Invite them out for coffee or lunch so you can discuss their experiences and advice. Ask for referrals about who else you can talk with. Be sure to thank them and return the favor.

4. Volunteer in your community.
Volunteering can involve management activities as well as stuffing envelopes or answering phones. Contact a charity that interests you and ask about how you can be considered for a board position. You could also offer to lead a project.

Regardless of your current job title, you can make the jump to management if that’s what you want to do. Developing your management skills now will broaden your opportunities and increase your job satisfaction. You’ll be able to perform your current responsibilities more successfully and explore more challenging positions.

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