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Advancing Career in Management: 4 Questions You Must Ask

Jun 15, 2021

Looking for your next career milestone but not sure if it’s the right time? Change in career can be daunting and bring many self-doubts. We have put together a quick self-guide to help you overcome career reservations and march ahead with confidence.

Great leaders are always growing. They keep learning and are always on a lookout for growth opportunities. Thomas Edison had such great tenacities for his ambitions.

Career growth is something we must be intentional about, but we often are not. “How do I know if it is time to make a career move?” “Am I ready for the next chapter?” And several such excuses and fears grip this decision.

New business graduates often are disoriented and confused when transitioning from college to the real world, shows a 2019 study by the Harvard Business Review. And these confusions are even common among professionals at the mid-career level when they seek out management roles.

Whether you just started in your career or are deciding to move into senior roles, it is important to address your concerns. Feeding into fears can hold you from exploring your potential and getting the growth you deserve.

Four questions to ask when taking a career leap

Management and business skills are second nature to any domain expertise. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimate, the number of business jobs is projected to grow at an annual rate of 10 percent through to 2026. Thus, no wonder career advancement for many is about opting for management roles.

You could take a leap from being a proficient engineer with near to no business skills to becoming a well-rounded engineer with management understanding that will help you sign up for higher-level managerial positions.

Earning a higher salary in the fast-growing business strategy jobs requires the confidence and willingness to hop on the springboard above anything else.

This quick guide lists four questions that will be your tool to overcome career blues and help you advance to coveted management positions with calm nerves and a new perspective.

Asking these questions will determine your readiness for business management and give you a headway. Also underlying these four questions are the four basic fears that all professionals face when moving up in their careers.

A. Do I have a plan?

“Have I been in this organization long enough?” “Do I need to leave my current place of work to rise in my career?”

Many mid-career management professionals ask these questions when deciding on the next career move.

These are not simple yes or no questions. It’s not about leaving or staying. You could always stay and take on more responsibilities par with senior roles. Alternatively, you could always leave and seek your ambitions outside. At the core of this confusion is the lack of a plan.

The right way to overcome this confusion is by developing a plan .

  • Ask yourself – where you are now and where you want to be.

  • Develop in you a keen sense of professional goals for the next 1-year as well as 5/10 years (short- and long-term).

  • Make out your ambitions with “from/to” statements.

B. What skills do I need?

With a career development plan in mind, you now can identify the skills you will need during the professional journey you have planned. Data (from LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc.) suggests that there’s a growing need for people with business and strategic management skills who can contribute key decisions.

A Harvard Business School professor, David Garvin, believes the most important skills for aspiring and newly appointed managers are in “designing, directing, and shaping processes.”

The right management skills will equip you with the know-how of getting from point A to B and determine what actions you must take during this transition.

A short course in business skills or management can help. You can also register for professional business strategy certifications to not only gain global recognition for your management skills but also expand your outlook.

C. Do I have enough experience?

It is common to get comfortable with your current position so much that the thought of change may jostle you or almost always seem half-baked. For most people, it is essentially a failure of an inquiry into “when’s really the right time to take the next step.”

Professionals often wonder if they have accumulated enough experience. Some face the dilemma only too late as a result of career burnout.

Experience, in this case, should not be evaluated from the count of your years of service. Many new managers are young, and some join the game quite late in their lives. What experience should mean is better emotional and professional acumen.

A WEF research shows that emotional intelligence is the strongest precursor to high-level business skills and workplace management success. Over 90% of the top performers emerged high on emotional quotient (EQ).

If you have the knack for reading people, leading discussions, and triggering new thinking, the chances are you have a high EQ and are also ready to take the leap.

To check that, seek out from others how they perceive your presence in the company. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. And, deliver honest feedbacks to forge closer working relationships.

Experience brings mastery over the knowledge that inspires the skills. If you do not feel ready yet, you could always ask for more responsibilities (discussed in the next section).

D. How do I ask for more responsibilities?

When you take ownership of the tasks, you as well as your organization grow. One of the biggest obstacles in professionals’ thinking about career advancement is busting their comfort zones to take on more (sometimes it may seem more courageous than rational). One simple way to come out of this is: taking initiative.

Test yourself. Challenge yourself. Grow yourself.

High-performing management professionals are often self-starters. They don’t wait for opportunities to come to them; they actively seek them out. Initiative is one of their top attributes, shows Indeed.

Lead a team. Take up a project. Design a campaign. Help your unit close an important deal. Whatever you best excel at, taking an initiative is the best way to showcase your capabilities, and outdo yourself.

It’s the best way to grow yourself in your present role, open yourself for new possibilities within the current as well as future organization. The golden rule of this step is: Avoid being passive.

Getting serious about career growth

Even simply wanting to know how to advance in your career is a healthy sign of your seriousness toward your professional growth.

Fears are often the result of an absence of knowledge. Outside support can help you bust the myths and gain the clarity you need to take on management roles.

You can strengthen your resolve and smoothen your journey with training, coaching, and mentoring. Investing in yourself will help you make the transition with the best prospects. It will also strengthen your resume.

If you are a working professional without the luxury of free time, you could register for a professional business certification. It will help you establish yourself as a skillful collaborator among employers, and help you capitalize on management opportunities globally with minimum distraction away from work.

Career progression takes time but when it’s time, stalling never helps. Don’t shy away from the big questions and take the next big management leap in your career with confidence.

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