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Leading without a management title

Show initiative, ask others to join in, support team mates objectives - these are all ways to lead in an organization without a management title.  Leadership is a skill that can be practiced long before you achieve an official role managing people.  HR Magazine from SHRM highlights this topic in the current issue providing guidance on how to lead in your current role. 

People or projects - they both count.  It's important to remember that leading can involve projects and/or people so as you look for opportunities don't ignore current projects that could use your input for direction. 

Ask to join the group.  Check out committees that may be working on non-traditional activities in your workplace as alternative sources to develop your leadership skills.  These could include philanthropies, special interest groups, and training activities.

Look for ways to improve.  As you are learning to lead, consider how you can improve leadership methods from project to project.  Identify informal mentoring that you can do in order to transition project management into people management also.

11:24 am          Comments

Preparing for a transition into management

Moving into a management role takes preparation and planning in the earliest stages of your career.  Even if you aren't sure what level or type of management you may want to achieve in the future, there are some key steps that can position you for that move.

  • Find leadership opportunities in your current role. Any promotion into management will require current managers identifying your ability to lead. This doesn't mean that you have to show direct leading of peers. Leadership can be exhibited in many ways including participation in internal committees, mentorship of new employees, and overall project management. Ask for varied opportunities to exhibit leadership throughout your career to have a wide range of examples to share.
  • Develop a network of supporters. Obviously, having your direct supervisor's support in moving forward into management is helpful. Evaluate who else in the organization could chime in about your skills when the time for personnel discussions arrives. Cross-training with other departments, involvement in general training activities, and positive interactions with multiple levels of the organization can all be ways to build a supportive network internally.
  • Record successes and development opportunities. It is every employee's responsibility to track their own work successes and professional development. Don't just rely on your annual performance reviews for this - keep documentation that shows your work throughout the year. Remember that training you do shows your interest in life-long learning, which is a necessary skill for future managers. Having a complete record of how you have provided value to the organization and continued to make yourself a better employee will help everyone internally with a decision to move you into management when you are ready.
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