In the next phase of your career, you might aspire to be a manager or a leader within your organization. With the right skills and mindset, you can effect change, inspire others and create positive outcomes for your team and your company.
In order to position yourself for leadership roles, you’ll need to demonstrate that you not only have the skills and knowledge needed to do the job, but also the right mix of leadership qualities to be an effective manager.
A recent Gallup study found that only 10 percent of working professionals possess the talent to be a great manager.
Here are five traits you’ll need in order to be a part of that top 10 percent:
Communicate with Expertise
Great managers are expert communicators. Not only do they set clear goals and expectations for their team members, they must also keep their managers, and in some instances, company executives, informed on project outcomes, status and strategy.
Look for opportunities to develop your communication skills throughout your academic or professional career. The more practice you have with giving presentations or speeches, communicating with clients, or working with others on a project, the more prepared you’ll be when it comes time for you to lead.
See the Big Picture
You’ll take on more responsibility as you advance to leadership roles, but you’ll likely be less involved with the day-to-day tasks you were once assigned. Now, it’s important to see the big picture and understand how different parts of the business contribute to the company’s overall goals and where you and your team fit into that.
Being able to foresee potential issues or obstacles – or even opportunities for growth and change – is a large part of your job as a leader. When issues do come up, keep a positive attitude and focus on finding a solution. Strong critical-thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills are all important attributes for a manager.
Manage Projects Effectively
You’ll likely oversee several teams and projects at once. Being able to keep multiple balls in the air and ensure that you meet your deadlines is a crucial skill for success.
Part of delivering on your goals and promises means delegating to your team members, and facilitating collaboration across teams, if necessary. Being able to inspire and motivate others to achieve a common goal – as well as hold everyone accountable for their assigned tasks – is a hallmark of a good manager.
Deliver on Promises
It’s important that you also exemplify the qualities and values that you ask of your employees. Time management, accountability and responsibility are all still equally important in managerial roles as they were early on in your career.
Great managers recognize that their team’s success is their success, and they work to cultivate a respectful and positive work culture. By following through on your promises and the goals you set for yourself and your team, you motivate others to perform and produce quality work – and everyone wins.
Make Transparency a Priority
Be honest with your team members when there is an issue or a problem, but don’t dwell on negative outcomes. Instead, focus on finding a solution to the problem or discuss what can be learned from a situation that didn’t turn out as planned.
It’s up to you to make sure that your team is motivated and engaged. While it’s important to learn from our mistakes, no one is perfect. Help your employees develop the skills and knowledge they need to advance in their own careers by building a culture that is based on learning.
That promotion may not be as far off as you think. By finding ways to develop your communication, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills now, you can prepare and position yourself for the next level of your career.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.