Every manager has had a first management job somewhere in their whole job journey. Mine was supervising two other consultants on a proposal preparation team. Like most other jobs, though, no one needs to give you that first management job unless you’ve experience and you cannot get experience if no one will give you the first job. Here is what you require knowing and, more significantly, what you require doing to get that first management job.
Do Job Well
Nobody is going to put you in charge if you cannot do your own job. The first step toward landing a first management job is doing a great job at the job you have. You do not have to be the best, but you do have to be good. The best programmer in the company might not make a good Development Manager. He or she might prefer to write code instead of taking on the responsibilities of management. However, it’s a safe bet that the Development Manager used to be a good programmer.
Homework in First Management Job
Find out what managers do. Watch the managers in your agency and see what they do and how they do it. Read books on management and leadership and learn what to do and what not to do. Inquire queries of managers you know.
Establish People Skills
The single most significant skill for any manager is the capability to manage people. Learn how people consider, react, and function when confronted with different outside forces. Develop respect for individuals, even those different from you. Learn how to work with people and then you can learn how to influence their behavior. Nobody will promote you to a management position if you can’t manage people. Anyone who gets a management position and can’t manage people is doomed to failure.
Do not sit at your desk and wait for someone to hand you a first management job. Demonstrate initiative. One key management skill is planning, so volunteer to assist your boss prepare the annual budget by collecting necessary information. Offer to assist put together the estimate of what the new addition to the production line will cost. If your department has to send someone to the planning committee for the company picnic (or the employee relations committee, HR study group, etc.), volunteer for that assignment.
Another great chance to learn and practice management skills, and put yourself in a better position for that first management job, is to volunteer at one of the regional non-profit organizations whose cause you support. The skills and experience you gain from the volunteer work can assist you land a first management job at work. The volunteer work also exposes you to others who may hire you, or recommend their boss hire you, into a first management job in a different company.