What skills or experience do you need to become a manager?

In the business world, there are many roles that play a vital part in helping any company succeed. Whether it is the caretaker, receptionist, salesperson or customer service agent, all businesses rely on staff in every department working hard to drive the company’s growth.

One specific role that is also very important and helps keep things on track for organizations is manager. Managers work across the whole business to manage staff and ensure they perform to their best abilities. In addition, managers also have an overall responsibility for their team/department and high-level tasks of their own to focus on. 

Many people will look at becoming a manager at some point in their career. This is only natural when you think it represents the chance to move up the ladder and work at a higher level. Most managerial roles also come with good salaries and opportunities to move up to even more senior levels over time. They are also ideal if you enjoy leading people and taking on more responsibility at work.

But just how do you become a manager, what experience might you need, and what skills are essential? 

How do you become a manager? 

Most managerial jobs now will ask for higher-level qualifications to work across all sectors. Even if they do not, gaining higher-level qualifications in business is advisable if you plan to move into management. This is because relevant business courses will enable you to pick up new skills to use in any future role and hone any key managerial skills you might already possess. 

The good news is that there are some superb courses to enroll in now to help with this. Walsh University’s online MBA in Management is a great way to learn important management skills and prepare to step into managerial roles. By graduating from a course like that, you will find it easier to become a manager and more confident when making that leap. 

Next steps to becoming a manager 

Once you have gained higher-level qualifications to access the best managerial vacancies, the next step is simply applying for any positions you like the sound of. The most obvious place to start is your current workplace. But what if you want to move to another company, switch careers or find that the opportunities for progression where you currently work are limited? 

In this case, you need to widen your net and start looking outside your current company. In the modern world, the best place to start are internet job sites. These are not only easy to use but also bring the latest managerial opportunities together in one place. 

It can also be a good idea to utilize your own personal and professional network when looking to become a manager. This way, you can gain trusted advice on how to do it from people in your network but also, they could flag vacancies to apply for that you might have missed.

What experience do managers need? 

We have already looked at how important academic qualifications are for becoming a manager — but how big a part does experience play, as well? 

This is often a tricky question to answer as it can depend on the specific managerial job you are applying for and how much value the employer places on previous experience at this level. It is true, though, that many employers will ask for some previous managerial experience when deciding who will work in these kinds of roles. This ensures that the person they choose has a proven track record of managing people, budgets and tasks. 

Of course, this is fine if you have previous managerial experience in your resume to showcase — but what if you don’t? In this case, you have to get a bit more creative to bag that first managerial role and build up real-life experience in this sort of job. One good way to do this is taking on roles outside of work that involve managing people or showing leadership skills. This helps to show employers that you can do this and have real-life management experience. 

What about industry or job-specific experience? 

For some management roles, you might also find that employers ask for industry experience. This basically means showing them that you have worked in the sector they are based in for a period of time. They may also want to see that you have experience working within the department you will manage so they know you have the in-depth knowledge to lead it.

If this is not something you can demonstrate, do not worry. As with the example above, you simply have to get creative and show how experience in other sector/jobs has set you up to succeed in the managerial role for which you are applying. 

What skills are key to becoming a manager? 

While experience can be vital for carving out a career in management, the key skills all good managers need are the bedrock you will rely on. Without the right skills in place, you will find it almost impossible to thrive in management and struggle to get the most from it. 

Communication skills

But which are the most important traits any good manager must have? Communication is certainly worth mentioning and one of the most important soft skills for managers. If you plan on moving into this role, you must develop, hone and perfect your ability to communicate effectively. This is not just important for passing on information to your team, either — communication is also key when presenting ideas to more senior management figures or engaging with stakeholders. 

In the modern business world, all good managers must be able to communicate properly across a range of channels. While verbally is still key, you must also be adept at email, video call, phone call and text message communication.

For many managerial jobs, financial skills can be very useful. While this is naturally true for higher-level roles of managing a finance department in business, other managerial positions might call for it, too. You may, for example, have a departmental budget and be responsible for how it is spent and for keeping records on how much has been used in the financial year. 

Leadership skills crucial 

If you are aiming to become a manager, you should know that a core part of the role is leading people. It is therefore only natural that leadership is a skill that all managers require. Without excellent leadership skills, you will find the job tough and difficult to inspire those around you. This can make it not only hard to break into management but also tricky to reach your full potential in this role. 

Good leadership skills, on the other hand, actually make those you manage want to follow you and buy into your vision for the team. It can also help you create a tight-knit team that is fully focused on its goals and know exactly where it is headed. Great leadership skills also establish your authority and enable you to gain respect from those you manage. 

People skills and organizational skills are key 

People skills are very important to think about if you plan to move into management. This is because a large part of the job is dealing with people and finding ways to resolve conflict in a calm, satisfactory manner. To do this, though, you must be able to engage with people positively and in a way that does not upset or antagonize them. 

You may, for example, have an upset client who you need to speak to; good people skills help here because you can use them to achieve a positive outcome for all. Of course, people skills are also important when managing your team and dealing with the many issues this can bring. They are especially crucial if a member of staff is experiencing personal issues, where you need to show sensitivity to help them. They can also be useful for having to reprimand staff without causing conflict (such as explaining why staff name tags are so crucial to a team member who never wears theirs). 

All managers also need great organizational skills in their work. This is important for not only deciding how to distribute tasks to team members but also keeping an eye on how they are doing. Organizational skills are also important on a personal level for managers. This is because they help you stay on top of your own workload, manage your daily schedule and ensure you never miss any key meetings.

Becoming a manager starts with core skills 

As the above shows, there are a few core skills that you need to become a good manager. If you feel like you don’t have them yet or need to develop them further, don’t worry. By enrolling in a higher-level business course, it is possible to build up skills like this for a career in management. If you can also pick up some experience for your resume (either in your professional or personal life), then you should be well on your way to becoming a manager.   

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