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Making the Transition to Management: How to Get Started

Image: transition to management

It's good to be the boss. But before you move up the ladder and transition to a management position, you need to know what your employer is looking for in a manager. You also need to have a desire to acquire the skills needed to rise above your competition to earn that promotion.

When searching for managers, large companies and small businesses alike seek out confident, authoritative and knowledgeable employees who have shown not only a willingness to work hard, but also an eagerness to learn the finer points of the business. In addition, those who successfully transition to management often excel in self-motivation and have a high degree of consistency and reliability. Beyond that, management candidates should demonstrate that they can think strategically and take a big-picture view of business needs.

These important strengths also extend to dealings with customers, both internal and external. Those working in management roles need to be able to work well with the public (if applicable to the business) as well as other departments within the organization. It's important to defuse potentially volatile situations, making sure to keep partners satisfied and maintaining strong relationships. People working in management need to develop the ability to quickly assess situations, and then solve problems in a quick and efficient manner. When things get hectic, team members turn to their manager for direction and a steady hand.

A rise to the role of manager can often result from a combination of experience and education. Those workers who show the ability to take charge and exceed expectations in their current role often are those who are on the radar as candidates for roles in management. Additionally, a business degree—a bachelor's or MBA, depending on the role—can provide the background and tools to help you make the move to management. It also may be the qualification that gives you the edge over other candidates.

When taking on the position of manager, especially for the first time, there are some important things to focus on. These include developing a strong relationship with those working under you. Remembering your own experiences, such as the likes and dislikes of how you were managed, and ways you would do things differently, can provide a solid guide. This can include recognizing employees for their good work, critiquing them fairly, and treating them in a courteous and respectful manner. Using your existing strengths to their greatest levels, while learning, evolving and developing in areas of weakness and inexperience, can be a recipe for success. Staying true to yourself and developing your own unique style through education and real-world experience can result in a successful and rewarding career in management.

Ready to learn more? Explore online business degrees at AIU.