You might be young – fresh out of undergrad – but that doesn’t mean you aren’t ready to lead. Whether you are a member of the millennials, who hold more than a third of management positions these days, or the yet-unnamed generation z, who are beginning to make their own moves into business, you are much more likely than older generations to expect promotions and raises soon after you obtain employment.
However, current leadership is less inclined to hand over a management position just because you want it. You must first demonstrate your fitness for leadership – and fortunately for you, here are a few fast ways to do that.
Earn an MBA
Returning to school might seem like a step backwards, but MBA programs are a short two years and virtually guarantee you a spot in management. MBA programs allow you to practice leadership skills, gain proficiency in business practices, and network with powerful business professionals, all of which will enhance your career. Plus, you can find online MBA programs accredited to boost your prestige while you continue to gain real-world experience. It’s nearly impossible to beat an MBA for speed and certainty of advancement.
Whether you decide to participate in an MBA program or not, you should be working hard to exceed expectations at your job. When your managers see you crushing your daily responsibilities, taking on additional projects, helping co-workers, and generally going above and beyond, they are likely to mention you to the higher-ups in charge of raises and promotions. If you are coming in early, staying late, and keeping busy all day long, you are a step closer to management.
Take Control of the Team
Even if your job title doesn’t include the term “senior,” “team lead,” or some other descriptor of being in charge, you can still step into a command role. If you have a plan or suggestion to help your team perform better, you shouldn’t keep quiet just because you don’t yet have a corner office. Sooner or later, you will be leading your team, so you might as well start now. Likely, your superiors will notice your go-getter attitude and reward you for it.
It’s easy for workers to get into a groove and mindlessly follow daily routines. However, businesses rarely succeed by being stagnant. Applying your creativity to improve your productivity is a good way to prove you are meant for a management position. Managers must show ingenuity in developing projects and refining tasks, so by practicing inventiveness in your daily tasks, you will refine and demonstrate your creative talent.
Motivate the Workplace
Perhaps the most arduous task managers perform is motivating their teams. Regardless of a worker’s duties or goals, work almost always feels like work, and without careful leadership, morale can plummet. You can gain the everlasting appreciation of your managers by staying motivated yourself and working to encourage your co-workers, as well. This might mean giving praise, bringing doughnuts, or staying positive regardless of your personal feelings.
Everyone has flaws – including you. If you were absolutely perfect for management, you probably would already be there, which means some flaw is holding you back. You should analyze your performance and ask your managers for feedback to better understand your flaws. Then, you should concert effort to eliminate, or at least diminish, those flaws. During regular reviews, you should mention your determination to overcome personal obstacles, so higher-ups understand your commitment to positive change.
Be Willing to Move
Job hopping is no longer just a bad habit perpetrated by the young and bored; it is largely necessary to obtain better-paying, higher-ranking positions. Even after working hard to demonstrate your leadership capability, you might need to find a new employer before you can climb into management. You might even need to search for opportunities in different cities or countries before you find a suitable place for professional success.
Finally, though the road to business management may seem long and hard, you must keep going. At no point should your confidence in yourself waver; if you feel insecure about your abilities or fitness for leadership, your peers will sense it and delay potential raises or opportunities. As long as you believe you are management material, you will eventually obtain the position you desire, and if you make the right career moves, that could happen surprisingly soon.