Are You Management Material?

Julie Shenkman
Posted by

Teena Rose is a columnist, public speaker, and certified/published resume writer with Resume to Referral. She's authored several books, including "20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer" and "Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales." If you're just starting out after finishing school, or even if you've been on the job a few years, you probably wonder if, someday, you might assume a management position in your area of expertise. Maybe you aspire to become the department head, or the shift supervisor, the director or even the CEO. Most people do. What are the characteristics of a good manger? More importantly, do you fit the profile? Are You a Multi-Tasker? Managers oversee the work for others. Sometimes lots of others. They coordinate work activities, conduct research and tests, plan business strategies and handle a bunch of complaints from the work floor - and that's all before morning coffee! Think you could learn to juggle three balls in the air? How about 10? Well, you'd better learn to keep a lot of balls in the air to be a successful manager. You have to be able to shift from one project to another without missing a beat. You must organize each workday to make the best use of your time. As a manger, director, supervisor or company owner, each day will be filled with different challenges. You just have to add each new challenge to the pile and smile. How's Your Judgment? If you think it'd be a good idea to take your life savings and put it all on red at the casino, you're probably not going to succeed as a company CFO. You may have the training and experience, but clearly, you come up short on sound, fiscal judgment - something any successful CFO must have. Managers make decisions all day, everyday. And while every one of them may not be a winner, most of them must be. That calls for common sense, street smarts and industry savvy. Watch how current managers do it. Learn all you can about your company and your industry or profession, stay current on current news and trends and develop a critical eye. Do You Have Managerial Skills? Can you write a decent letter or download an encrypted file from the main office? Can you balance the ledger, review the time sheets and manage your department's budget? All functions of management. In many cases, you can pick up and even hone these skills on the job. Learn the procedures and protocols by closely watching the work activities of others in positions similar to those to which you aspire. It's practical learning, it has application to your ultimate career success and it's 100% free. Learn by watching. In some cases, you can pick up or brush up on skills through adult ed classes, vocational tech schools and your local community college. Here, you can improve your computer skills (essential for any manager); learn how to compose a letter and a report and an evaluation. You can get certified, authorized, licensed or approved, thus increasing your value as a manager. Are You a Team Leader? That's what a manager is - a team leader. He has to organize the team members to work in unison, increasing individual and department productivity. Could you do that? He has to inspire the troops when the crunch is on. A manager is a cheerleader, urging the team ever upward toward success. How are your leadership skills? Not sure? Try working with a volunteer agency in your community, or get involved in local politics. Learn to be a good follower. Good followers make the best leaders. Gradually, assume more responsibility within the organization. It'll hone your decision-making skills, your diplomatic skills and, you'll be doing something good for others. That's a pretty nice package. Coach your daughter's baseball team or your son's basketball team. You'll learn to give directions in ways that inspire instead of scare to death. You'll get more out of the team with solid, straightforward management techniques than through the use of intimidation and fear tactics. (Extremely counterproductive.) How Are Your People Skills? Managers don't manage projects or reports or new testing procedures. Managers manage people, at least the good ones do. And that means good managers have good people skills. They manage by example. They're honest with those they manage. They defend the team and individual players. And, they have empathy. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of others. A great manager (not just a good one) is able to empathize with the people he directs. He knows what it's like. Maybe he's been there. Or, maybe he just understands human needs and feelings - the need to belong, the need for self-esteem, the need to trust and to be appreciated. Empathy enables great managers to get the most from their employees by creating the team, motivating it and keeping it on track - all the while, adapting to the needs of the team and its individual members. Each team member is different, and accordingly, must be treated individually. Some people take criticism well; others tear up. Good managers know who is who on the team. Do You Have the Ambition? Well, you're reading this, so chances are, you do want to become a manager and take on more responsibility. Congratulations. You have the inner drive. But, do you have the stamina? It takes time, effort and dedication to prove your worth to an employer. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon. You may have to take work home with you, or work a weekend or two. It comes with the territory, and not everyone is cut out to take on the extra work and to put in that extra effort. It doesn't matter whether you're just starting in your irst 'entry-level' job, or you've been in the workplace for a few years. Becoming a good manager - a great manager takes more than desire. So, are you management material? You're still reading, aren't you? Read more articles from Teena Rose by visiting

Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch