Hi guys, following on from a couple of posts I have made. I applied for a Management role in my current company.
I was told the reason I did not get the role is because of my lack of Management experience. I agree this was my first real Management role I was going for. I am a Project Manager.

How do I get around this problem?...its like the night club bouncer who says "regulars only" how do you become a regular if you cant get in for the first time?

How do I get this management experience if no one will give me the first opportunity. I have the theory, I cant wait to do my one-to-ones, feedback, coaching and use all the tools in my Managers Toolbox, but need that first opportunity...

Anyone have this problem or seen this before?

jhack's picture

Informally, most folks I know in management got there by being good as an individual contributor. "Bobbi's our best [whatever], her peers respect her, let's make her manager" (or so it seems).

Have you listened to the very first cast, "Solution to a Stalled Technical Career?"

You become a regular by having someone bring you in - "They're with me..."


stephenbooth_uk's picture

A few things come to mind.

Whilst being a project manager is different from line management there are common areas and many of the skills of one are used in the other. Both involve management of people and finances, both involve setting and achieving goals and both require you to be able to communicate up, down and across the organisation. Try to map achievements and activities in your project manager role to how they would apply in a line manager role.

One way to become a regular at a club is to go on nights when they aren't regulars only, the slower nights (similarly many sports teams restrict ticket sales for their most popular games (or at least give preference) to fans who also attend their less popular games, the ones who don't only come when they're playing a big name rival). If the opportunity arises to be an interim manager, take it. Whether it be covering for a manager who is taking a long holiday, taking over when a manager leaves and a replacement has to be recruited or just line managing some temps who have been brought in to work on a project, it's experience and will probably be easier to convince your bosses to let you have it due to it's short term nature, they're not committing to a long term arrangement and, looking at the pessimistic side, they'll figure (subconsciously at least) that if you're not up to the job at least it's short term enough that you can't do too much damage. Plus you're solving a problem for them and making their life easier, which should earn you some karma.

At work isn't the only place you can get management experience. Is there some community, faith or political group you get involved in? Maybe that could be an option to develop management experience?


tlhausmann's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

I was told the reason I did not get the role is because of my lack of Management experience. [...] I am a Project Manager. [/quote]

BLUF: Consider a community activity requiring your technical acumen and project management skills.

Your formal background in project management would be a vital asset to many library boards, school boards, and community service organizations. My experience includes building projects, vendor negotiations, strategic planning, and technical design specifications as a *volunteer* in service to others. Formal project management principles that may seem obvious to you are incredibly helpful to boards and committees. You gain experience while ensuring the board/committee effectively serves others.

Find that cause you are passionate about...and give your time.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

I think that community activities are fine, but frankly I don't know that many managers that give it terribly much weight in looking at promoting an individual contributor.

I would find it far more effective to re-work my resume focusing on the leadership and motivation of project members, and the project successes. I really doubt that you don't have enough experience...PM experience is usually quite good (though those who are deciding may not know that).

You could also volunteer AT WORK for a small role where you weren't leading directs but had a team that was doing non-project work. (yes, it's still project work but if it's not technical, I've seen this work.)


MsSunshine's picture

When I'm looking for individual contributors to give a chance as managers, it's all about how they are showing leadership across the organization.

If someone is showing me that they can lead across a wide group - peers, other groups, people up the company chain, etc. The key things are that it has to be a larger circle of influence (listen to the podcast on networking) and you have to show me you can influence people effectively without using positional power (I like the book "The Influencer") With your project management skills showing that you can get the work done, this would be a good combination.

Then you have to be patient and keep your eyes on your goal. What does your current manager say about helping you with this objective? Can other peers or a mentor give you feedback?

mbbeattie's picture

All, Hi

Thank you for all your advice. The community idea will not work. I leave the house at 6.15am, 2 hour commute and I get home at 7.30pm. I have 3 young children. So time is not there to participate in any other activities.

I have reworked my CV to emphasis leadership skills. I have approached my boss and told him where I want to go in my career.

He will ask me to stand in for him when he is on annual leave and handed me additional responsibilities within our team to give me additional exposure to Senior Management

I have also volunteered to take on the task of building, resourcing and running the Project Support Office. Hopefully this will again give me exposure and show I am capable of running a team

Again, your help, advise and support is invaluable.

Manager Tools is a joy to belong too and be part of…thank you guys

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Well done!

Keep us posted.