Not everyone is cut out for management. Anyone who's worked under a difficult supervisor, or unfair manager, knows this all too well.
Whether you're supervising one or two people, or in charge of a large team—it takes a very special skillset to truly lead other people without driving them (and yourself) crazy.
Have your sights set on a management role after business college? For you, does success mean climbing the corporate ladder, being in charge of others, making the big decisions...and bringing home the bigger paycheck?
Or, would you be way better off staying part of the team?
This is a question every student should ask themselves, even before they start a business diploma. Where would you fit best: team member, or team leader?
Both are important roles. In order to be successful, businesses need professionals at every level. You don't need to be a manager to be "important" and highly valued at work.
But let's say you really want that big title. Think about whether you have the mindset and natural traits of a really good manager. See how you stack up against the 7 skills you'll need to lead.
You want to Make the plan (not just follow it)
Think about how you relate to family, friends, classmates, or co-workers. When it comes time to plan something (a birthday, school project, night out, work schedule), do you like to jump right in and take charge?
Do you feel most comfortable when you're the one setting the goals, and deciding who's doing what?
Or, on the flip side, are you happy to take a back seat and let the others figure out the details?
Born managers like being in the driver's seat. They do so automatically; it's a natural instinct. Some might call you bossy, but you truly enjoy taking the lead. And most of the time, things get done well when you do.
1. You're great at motivating others
What generally happens when you're in charge of a project or plan? Can you get everyone on board with your ideas? Do people tend to naturally follow you?
Great managers need to inspire the people they supervise. They do this is a few really important ways:
- modelling good, respectful behavior themselves (no one will follow a leader they don't actually respect)
- praising other people's strengths and encouraging them to succeed
- being positive and enthusiastic
- working hard yourself (not just coasting on other people's efforts)
If your idea of management is just kicking back, barking orders, and making other people do all the hard work, you're in for a rude awakening! These kinds of managers never last long in the real world of business.
A truly great manager is not a dictator. They're experts in building up other people.
Here's how the incredibly successful, retired CEO of General Electric sums it up in his recent book:
" When you were made a leader, you weren't given a crown. You were given the responsibility to bring out the best in others." - Jack Welch
2. You're a natural organizer
Think about it: do you tend to plan in advance, and think through your tasks carefully? Are you, by any chance, a list-maker?
Can you look ahead and see where problems might come up, or where a plan might fail? Are you good at coming up with a plan B, C, or D?
These are all key skills for future managers. Good leaders are natural organizers. They can see the big picture and the nitty-gritty details—all at the same time.
They know how to stick to a schedule, stay on track with projects, and keep an eye on what everyone else is doing. These people are born multi-taskers.
3. You can solve problems on your own
How confident are you, really? When things go wrong, is your first instinct to run for help? Or, do you think about how you can solve the problem on your own?
If you go for a management role after business college, you'll have to be ready to face challenges and solve problems independently. This takes a certain kind of self-confidence. Chances are, you already do this in other areas of your life—at home, work, school, etc.
You're good at staying calm, analyzing the issue, and coming up with answers. You believe in your ability to find a solution.
4. You can handle the heat when things go wrong
Do you blame other people when your plans fail? Do you run for cover when your idea backfires?
If you plan to work in management after business college, you must be ready to take full responsibility when things go wrong.
Real leaders don't point fingers or make excuses. They admit their mistakes, and find ways to improve for next time.
If you're good at handling criticism, and aren't afraid to face failure, you've already got a key attribute of an effective manager. Because learning from mistakes, and standing up for your team, is what good leadership is all about.
5. You're great at connecting with people
How good are your "people skills"? We guarantee that any list of essential leadership qualities includes this trait (here's an example right here).
It's pretty simple—you will not succeed in management if you're not really good at connecting with people. Leadership is all about building relationships, and convincing other people to believe in you.
How do you know if you have this skill? Here are some key signs to watch for:
- you're an excellent listener
- people open up to you
- you're great at earning trust
- you can easily talk with people you've just met
- you're good at team projects and collaborating with others
- you make other people feel good about themselves
6. You can be tough when it's needed
There's a clear downside to working in management, and we can guess you know what it is. We're talking about dealing with employees who don't perform well, or rebel against your authority. We're talking about delivering discipline, criticism, or even terminating employment.
For many people, this is one of the hardest parts of being a manager. And when you're just starting out after business college, you've probably never had to discipline or fire someone at work before.
But that doesn't mean you don't have the necessary skills. Think about it: can you be tough when you need to be?
Are you able to express yourself honestly, even when it's bad news? Can you give criticism without losing your temper, or resorting to insults? Can you calm someone down when they're really angry or upset?
Or, do you hate the idea of making people "mad" at you. You'd rather keep the peace, no matter the cost. Being friends is more important than being honest. Managers can't afford to think this way. They have to put the team, and the company, first.
7. You feel most alive when the stakes are high
Natural leaders love a challenge. They thrive on the adrenaline of being in charge, making big decisions, and taking risks.
They feel most alive when they're pushing themselves toward a big goal—something they weren't sure they could actually accomplish.
If you're aiming for management after business college, this drive will help you get there. You'll need to be that person who asks for extra responsibility, and goes the extra mile on assignments.
You'll need to be the employee who speaks up in meetings, solves problems without being asked, and helps people around you to succeed.
If you've overcome obstacles to go back to school for a business diploma, you're already half-way there.
You've struggled hard to get this far, and are ready to take on even bigger challenges. You're primed for the responsibilities and rewards of leadership.
Sound familiar? Congratulations! You're on the road to management. If you haven't already, get your career off the ground by finding a quality business program to begin your training.
The next step is to speak with an Admissions Advisor. An Advisor can explain how to apply, what to expect in class, and whether business training is right for you.
Chat live with an Advisor right now. Or click below to explore the Business Administration program in more detail. We're here to help!