Becoming a manager is a common goal that many employees often dream about but never realize. Sometimes potential is not enough to be successful. Sometimes lifestyle priorities shift. Sometimes, employees that want to be managers haven’t properly prepared themselves to move into management.
Stepping into a management position requires you to have the business skills to not only lead a team but also to manage operations. These responsibilities should not be taken lightly and require preparation prior to moving up in your career.
Review these business management skills so you can understand what employers are looking for in managers and see how you can develop your own skills to advance your career.
Hard Skills for Business Managers
An analysis of more than 1.4 million online job postings (see chart) for management jobs identified the most commonly sought after hard skills – specific skills that can be taught and measured – for management positions.
Preparing to become a manager can be a long and competitive process that can frustrate even the most patient employee. But that is why it’s a good idea to start learning the necessary skills early so that you are ready when the opportunity presents itself.
“Developing these skills and gaining experience in one or more of the in-demand areas will set you apart from your peers,” says Lisa Rosendahl, leadership blogger and 20-year veteran human resources professional.
It’s not expected that everyone will possess every skill on the list. After all, people have different strengths and weaknesses. But being honest with yourself about where you excel – and where you need improvement – will help you focus your efforts on developing your career.
How to Develop Management Skills
Depending on your current position, some of the skills shown in the chart may deserve more immediate attention than others. To that end, it’s important to prepare yourself for external or long-term opportunities that may come up in the future.
“Companies are seeking managers with core business skills and initiative,” says Rosendahl. And refining and adding new skills is something every successful manager should continue to do throughout his or her career.
Luckily it’s not too late; you can start refining your business management skills right now. A combination of hands-on experience and education is the best way to prepare for a leadership position.
Begin by identifying the opportunities in your current position. Take the initiative to assist with certain projects or activities that can help you practice honing your skills in certain areas like scheduling, sales or marketing for example.
Think about which tasks you can help out with around your office. Try asking your boss how you can help complete activities that they might not enjoy or are too busy to do themselves. Maybe you can put together next week’s schedule; or help create a presentation for next week’s sales meeting; or assist in a marketing focus group.
Taking the initiative to create these opportunities is a great way to learn new skills and show your supervisor that you are ready for more responsibilities. But remember to start off slow – there’s no sense taking on too much and getting overwhelmed! There are bound to be opportunities around your office, so use them to begin sharpening your skills in some of the key areas from the chart.
Another surefire way to develop the business management skills you’ll need to advance your career is to go back to school.
The fact is that 80 percent of management positions require candidates to have a Bachelor’s degree or higher. And, believe it or not, these requirements were not put into place to hold you back. Requiring employees to hold a Bachelor’s degree helps employers ensure that candidates already have at least a theoretical understanding of the skills needed to be an organizational leader.
Completing your bachelor’s degree not only helps you fulfill the degree requirement of many positions, but it will also enable you to learn more about the different areas employers want their future managers to know.
So what are you waiting for?
Developing yourself to become a manger is about creatively finding ways to learn new skills on the job and taking the practical step of completing your Bachelor’s degree. Both will add value to your resume as you grow in your current role and keep an eye on opportunities among leadership.
There is a famous saying that states: “You don’t need a title to be a leader.” This might resonate particularly well depending on the job you have now. But as you prepare to advance your career it’s important to note that two of the best ways to earn the respect of your colleagues and supervisors is by learning these business management skills and earning a degree.