You have completed your analysis of the company goals, strategies, financials, organizational structure, management culture, and have a good idea of the roles and responsibilities of management. After your personality test, you know your personality type and communication style. If it appears that everything lines up, or is close enough that you are willing to move forward, begin socializing your decision. If you are married, have an honest discussion with your spouse and children. Carefully explain what you want to do and if you get a position in management, what the expectation will be and what changes to expect in your work and home routines. Ensure that you discuss the probability of longer hours, weekend work, emergencies, home work, travel, and social commitments.
The next step is to craft and implement your self-development program. This may feel overwhelming and the effort a bit arduous. Consider a linear time frame and it will be more manageable. Recall that self-felt “need to be more” or the opportunity to move into management usually comes in that five- to 10-year range. You will have about five+ years to prepare.
I strongly argue for the long-term self-development approach for several reasons. Today’s companies are lean and operate with as few front line and staff employees as possible. Opportunities to move into management can be few and far between so when one is presented, you should be ready to make your move.
Competencies you develop for a career in management will serve you well in your personal life and can be leveraged in careers in other companies. Front line employees and senior management expect managers to be prepared to do the job and are mature enough to lead. This may not be your reality but it is their expectation. Ready or not, on your first day as a new supervisor or manager, you will have to supervise, manage, and lead day-to-day operations in whatever scenario is presented to you.
What should you include in your self-development program? Courses, training, and practice activities that will address your limitations and help you become an effective manager in the shortest amount of time. I suggest that the most efficient management development path is a degree in Business Administration. This degree will open doors, put you ahead of the competition, and serve you well as you move up in your company or another.
The preferred path is an Associate’s Degree from a community college first and then a bachelor’s from a four-year college. Many community colleges will give you credit for work experience and your A&P training. Another great reason is that many community colleges have adjunct instructors who have day jobs in industry and local companies. Most night classes will be populated by adults like you. Interacting with your peers is very effective development activity.
Ensure that your degree or other self-development program contains course work and development activities in economics, business administration, finance and accounting, computer science, organizational development, communications, quality control systems, and decision making. In addition you must develop strong interpersonal communication skills. Managers must be effective communicators and decision makers.
People managers need training and practice in public speaking, report and proposal writing, working with spread sheets, and building and defending budgets. In order to do this you must be proficient with computer technology, personal communication devices, and Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point, and data base applications. Above all else, take practical courses in project and time management.
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