Transitioning To Management


It’s time to make the move into a supervisory role.

The first thing that’s essential is to know why you want to apply for a management position. Is it the increased salary that’s attractive, the opportunity to lead, a new challenge or is it just because there’s nowhere in your organization to go but up and you figure if you don’t apply it may appear to others that you have no ambition? In other words are you running away from your current position or embracing a role with more responsibility and authority?

I was speaking with someone recently who is in the process of transitioning into a supervisory position. When I asked her why she wanted a senior position in the company she works for now she started with, “I think I’m ready…” Whoa. Let’s stop right there. I asked her, “Are you ready or aren’t you? Can they afford to put you in a senior position where you would be an example to others if you only think you’re ready?” I took two short sentences and spoke each out loud to her; “I think I’m ready”, and “I’m ready.” The second of the two is more assertive while the first suggests there is some doubt in your mind.

When you are currently working in a front-line role and want to transition into a position of leadership, there is a lot more required than just submitting your application and going to an interview. One of the key things to realize is that on a daily basis, the people who may be in a position to advance your career; people who may in fact be on the interview and selection panel in the future, have to start seeing you differently in the here and now. The challenge becomes therefore how to go about your business and fulfill your current responsibilities yet at the same time be pegged as management material.

For starters, it might start with dressing yourself differently when you leave home each day. Do the people in the role you are going after wear clothing that differs from those in the role you have now? If so, you’d be well advised to notch your attire up a grade and start introducing new clothing choices into your wardrobe that reflect the position you want. Simple things like your choice of hairstyle and grooming require some attention too. If you’ve got long hair you wear down to the middle of your back and it has a tendency to fly around, you may want to consider getting it more under control; off your face and up or maybe even cut and styled in a new look. A sharp, crisp look.

Now while you shouldn’t abandon all your current co-workers and isolate yourself from the very people you might be supervising in the future, you should consider mingling with the people you want to become your peers in a position of higher authority. Start doing a little research now and find out what you have in common, and see if those things will help spark conversations.

One of the most obvious things you may need to do is start to be more assertive and confident about your decisions in the work you do now. Making a decision to take on greater responsibilities while working on joint projects might be something that up until now you’ve avoided. Leaders lead as they say, so now is the time to show others that you’re not intimidated by a greater workload, and you can handle additional responsibilities. These are the kind of decisions that will either provide you with the examples you’ll find extremely helpful in an interview or betray you with if you pass them up. Being able to cite examples of your leadership, successes you’ve brought to projects and your ability to take on additional work is critical.

It’s also a good idea to speak with your immediate supervisor and let him or her know that you have aspirations of advancement. Tell them how much their leadership has been helpful to you and follow with a request for their guidance, opportunities to learn such as approval to attend training sessions or be put in positions of leadership where you can hone your skills.

At the outset of this piece, I indicated it is critical to know WHY you want to advance into a management role. Not only are you going to be asked at the interview, but you can bet anyone you speak with such as your boss or a co-worker is going to be curious too. Good advice is to frame your answer not around what you want, but rather address how you see opportunities to positively influence how people go about doing business and add to the organization.

Focusing in on how your experience on the front-line has given you the necessary appreciation for how the customer or client relationship is  forged, but wanting to be in a position to positively guide and mentor people is far better than saying you’re ready for a change.

One last suggestion I have is to determine what’s in the way of your advancement and take the steps to remove that barrier. Whether it’s additional experience, credentials, your lack of ambition or effective writing skills, addressing those things now can greatly help you overcome flaws which otherwise might deem  you not ready.

All the best!

Afraid Of Job Interviews? Please Share


A common fear is the dreaded job interview. While there’s a lot of help out there on how to overcome this fear, fear still paralyzes some people from even applying for better jobs than they have. As you’ve found this post, maybe I can help you put this fear in its place a little, and increase your self-confidence in the process. Reading certainly won’t hurt.

Whether you are shy, introverted, nervous, unsure of yourself or any combination of these, you’re still deserving of a job that brings you satisfaction from the work you perform. Whether it’s a desire for a happier workplace, more income and benefits, a new challenge or just a desire for a fresh start, I suspect something has you wanting more.

Here’s a question for you: If you could send a company your resume, have them call your references, and then offer you a job bypassing the interview, would you be applying for jobs in the next day or two? If the answer is yes, than it’s important for you to realize that it is primarily or only your fear of the job interview that’s holding you back. By overcoming this fear, you’re on your way to the job you want.

First of all, it’s okay to be anxious even thinking about it. Take a few deep breaths. You’ll overcome your extreme anxiety in time, not immediately so give yourself permission to feel the way you do. Let’s look at getting a new job this way. You see an ad for a job so the employer has a need for someone. You want to explore the possibility of working there, so you start by finding out what you can about the company and the job. There’s a job description on their website maybe, and information about the organization. Good start.

If you look at the job posting, you’ll likely see the skills and qualifications the employer is looking for in the person they would like to hire. Do you have most or all of those skills and qualifications? If you do, feel good about that. Recognize right away that you’ve got what they say they want, because that’s important for your self-confidence as you think about speaking with them.

Here’s a very important thing to realize. Questions interviewers are likely to ask you are going to be centered on those very same skills and qualifications. So if you are going for a job as an Accountant, you’ll likely be asked questions related to your experience using specific accounting software the company uses. Going for a job as a Receptionist, you’d get questions asking about your experience providing good customer service and greeting people on the phone or in person.

One good thing to do is to think about your current and past jobs, and come up with a specific time when you provided great customer service or in the case of the Accountant, perhaps your track record of being audited at year-end and passing with flying colours. In other words, you can anticipate and make good guesses about the questions you’ll likely be asked, long before you sit down with someone from the company at an interview.

Let’s say the interviewer asks you to share a weakness. Have you considered saying that while you are a really good Accountant or Receptionist, you find job interviews are very stressful? While you might be worried that you are showing them a flaw and your chances are zero now, most of the time, that’s not what happens. The interviewer wants to picture you as an employee. So if you don’t tell them this isn’t your usual self, they are left wondering exactly that.

Everyone has one or a few areas that they are not strong in. If job interviews is one of yours, this isn’t going to be an issue once you are hired now is it? No. You’ll have first day nervousness which is normal, you’ll want to fit in and stress a little about that too maybe, but it passes.

Although you get all stressed out about interviews, the very thing you need to do is the very thing you are probably dreading having me suggest; do some practice interviews. Do yourself a favour though and please don’t ask your spouse, family or friend to help you. They may want to help, but they aren’t trained to do this. Get the help of an Employment Counsellor, Career Coach or Job Coach. You can start by calling an employment help centre in your community.

This column isn’t going to transform you or eliminate your fear of the job interview. It is a start though. The biggest hurdle you must overcome to doing well in a future job interview is wanting to improve and making the decision to do something about it. Without doing something, your anxiety will remain, results will likely be the same and your fears will be confirmed. Sadly, then you’ll believe as you do now, that you can’t change – but you can!

A job interview is really just a conversation. Employers are under pressure too. They need someone with your skills and qualifications. You can do that job. What you really want help with is marketing yourself, feeling good about your potential answers to their questions and seeing value in what you’ve accomplished. This is what professionals can help you believe.

You can do this.