There’s a management position open in your department. You’ve been there for a couple of years and you love your job—should you apply? Moving into management is a huge career milestone, and while loving what you do is certainly important if you’re considering, well, doing even more of it, there are other factors to consider.
Here are six questions to ask yourself before heading to HR and declaring yourself an applicant for your first management position:
1. Do you want more responsibility?
You’ll have lots of it if you become a manager. Is there room in your life for the commitment?
2. Have you successfully managed projects in your current role?
You will likely be asked this in an interview. If you have successfully led smaller projects and initiatives already, you can show you’re ready to take on a larger management role. If the answer to this question is no, consider asking your boss to put you in charge of a project or two to prove yourself on a small scale before applying for a management position.
3. How well do you deal with conflict?
Being a successful manager will inevitably involve resolving conflict—between employees, with a client or even directly with a colleague or superior. When you are a manager, you almost have to enjoy conflict in order to become deft at handling it calmly and effectively. If you avoid conflict like the plague, consider how comfortable you would actually be in a management position.
4. Do you already have established relationships with other departments?
You might work in marketing, but does the accounting team know who you are? We’re not saying you have to bring them doughnuts, but in order to become an effective manager you should know the company inside out. Ask to shadow someone from a different department in order to gain perspective. You’ll have to genuinely take interest in others’ careers as a manager, so start doing so before you apply for the job.
5. Have you been involved in training or mentoring?
If your boss has chosen you to train and mentor a new employee in your department, and you enjoyed it, you have already experienced one part of what it means to manage. Volunteer to do more of it!
6. Have you already pitched ideas to your boss or company?
Your willingness to offer solutions to problems, and not just point them out, shows that you have vision. As a manager you will be constantly presented with challenges and expected to offer solutions, so start practicing now. Even if your idea isn’t the one that solves the problem, your motivation to speak up will not go unnoticed.