Maybe you dream about moving up into a management position. Maybe you dream of starting a company or working for a startup. You’ll soon find that many companies are seeking all the traditional hard skills along with more intangible qualities. The good news is that most of these capabilities are things you can learn with practice.
Take a look at what qualifications you need to advance to the C-suite and how to develop those skills.
Hard Skills for Management Positions
- Understand finance. You’ll need to be able to use accounting information to guide your decision-making as a manager. Learn to budget, manage cash flow, read balance sheets, and interpret profit/loss statements.
- Master operations. Much of your work will involve planning and organizing the daily workload. Be prepared to manage projects and address any issues that arise.
- Study marketing and sales. Customers are the lifeblood of any company. Whatever department you work in, you’ll be helping to manage customers and increase sales.
- Integrate technology. Similarly, technology is an important part of any manager’s job. Stay updated on developments which impact your industry and take advantage of opportunities for automation.
- Focus on business performance. Even junior executives may be expected to be savvy about corporate intelligence these days. Understand how to set the correct metrics for your company and work towards strategic goals.
Soft Skills for Management Positions
- Enhance communications. Communication skills build healthy relationships so employees feel valued and strive to do their best. Set clear expectations. Be generous with feedback and praise.
- Build teams. Your success depends on your whole team, as well as your individual efforts. Find top talent and encourage them to stay. Build rapport so you know how to inspire each team member. Be respectful and resolve conflicts promptly.
- Delegate with ease. Putting a solid team in place gives you room to back off and let them take charge of their own responsibilities. Demonstrate your trust while being accessible to answer questions and talk things over.
- Give presentations. You’ll probably be called upon to collect and synthesize information for your boss and other stakeholders. Over time, you’ll gain confidence even when you face a tough audience.
- Commit to excellence. Superior execution is the most dependable way to make you and your business stand out. Become comfortable with constant change and continue to enhance the company.
How to Brush up Your Management Skills
- Take initiative at work. Use your current position to start climbing up to management levels. Ask a coworker if they want assistance with a special project that will give you valuable experience, or step up and propose a new initiative to your boss where you can take a leading role.
- Pursue freelance assignments. Keep an eye out for short-term contract work that you can add to your list of experiences. Just remember to check your company policies so you can avoid any conflict with your day job.
- Volunteer your services. Volunteering is much more than stuffing envelopes. You can gain exposure to any area, from public relations to forecasting revenue. Get more involved in the local chapter of your professional association or check out charitable organizations and political campaigns you want to support.
- Continue your education. Go back to school to complete a degree or certificate. Community colleges and university continuing education departments are experts at accommodating professionals who are working and going to school at the same time.
A C-suite role could be your opportunity to shine. Oversee the work of others and help lead your company to even greater success. Careful planning and focused efforts will enable you to take on greater responsibility, develop your own talents, and coach others, all while living out your dream.