Hello All,

I have been enjoying all the discussion in this forum and listening all great podcasts so far. Everything has been dedicated to existing or new managers. How will some one prepare themselves to move up and become a manager?

I have been in IT field for past 15 years but I have never had the opportunity to become a manager, neither lead any team nor managed any budget. I have always been the one-man show in the organization. I know I have the capability to lead but I did not get any opportunity.

I changed to the current job 18 months back so that I can work in a larger team as a senior analyst. They did not have the manager position available at that time. Soon after I joined the manager position was opened and they hired another senior analyst who had been in the organization for past six or seven years. Since this person is a fairly new manager he does not have any intention to move or jump the gun. So in this situation how can I prepare myself to become a manager?



jhack's picture

Are you asking about how to prepare (generally) to be a manager, or how you should handle your current situation where there seems to be no opportunity for a management role?  

John Hack

kima's picture
Training Badge

Lots of great management experience in these forums so you're sure to get some good advice here.  A couple of thoughts, just to get things rolling:

1.  If you haven't already, stop being the "one-man show."  Or maybe even start with some soul-searching to decide how much the one-man show means to you personally.  Great management is all about getting OTHER people to do their best.  Everyone brings something different to the table and frankly there is nothing inherently bad about being a one-man show, but if you look deep down inside and find that it is significant and meaningful to you, then management might not be the best fit.  I've worked for some wonderful and a few awful managers over the past 35 years.  Many were talented, even gfited, motivating leaders but the best among them had a sort of inherent stewardship attitude that would cause their teams to be willing to follow them to the ends of the earth. 

2.  Do a personal skills gap assessment and act on it. Lots of excellent info here at MT on the skills it takes to be a manager.  Even though you aren't currently in a management position, you can use the info here at MT to create your own body of skills for management.  Then take a good honest inventory of the skills you posses and the ones you don't.  That list of gaps will give you a concrete list of things to work on while you either look elsewhere or wait for a position to open in your current organization.  You could even apply the MT coaching process to yourself.  Identify a specifc gap to work on, establish a goal, brainstorm resources and then go do it.  I suspect that you'll find an interesting thing will happen -- even though you don't announce to the world that you are coaching yourself, people WILL notice that you are increasing your skills and driving your development.

3.  Whenever possible, volunteer for leadership assigments.  You don't have to have position power to demonstrate management potential.  In fact, I propose that you can actually learn to be a better manager in the long run if you can learn how to lead without position power.  You might have to start small - leading a staff meeting or small project team -- but each time you do so, you'll have a measurable accomplishment that you can add to your resume.  And the more you deliver, you'll find the more opportunity you're likely to get. 

And I wish you the best in achieving your goal if you decide to pursue management!


smpuria's picture

I have both things in my mind. First of all I should be prepared to become manager. Manager responsibilities are different from a one-man-show. I have lead many projects but I have never managed any budget or personnel even though I have other resources worked in the project but I was not their manager.

In the current situation I am sure it will be very difficult or will take long time before I can be the manager. If I will try manager position in other organization then I need to show them that I have managed personnel or budget. In my last one-on-one with my manager we discussed about budget but unfortunately because of the situation now we will not have any new budget for projects. I did not bring my intention but he is well aware.

So my question was how can I prepare myself in the given situation to really prepare for manager position in another organization.

I think I am making some sense here!


smpuria's picture

Hello Kim,

Those are all really great advices! Lately, I have been doing my own assessment and during my research I found this website and I am hooked on since then. I have found some gaps and I am trying to address those.

I am already volunteering for some of those activities. I will keep trying to do more of these activities. I have already see some benefits of those.

I wanted advice from these esteemed managers to prepare myself for the eventualities!




kima's picture
Training Badge

Thank you for the clarification - now I understand your situation better.  Don't know if these fit but some possibilities:

*  Annual Budget Preparation:   Most companies have an annual budget cycle so I assume yours does too.  Next time the annual budget cycle comes around, see if your manager would delegate preparation of the budget to you.  It would still be HIS budget but delegating the preparation of the proposal would benefit him (less work) and give you a chance to learn about the line items that go into it, capital vs. expense money, the planning cycle, etc.  This would be a good result to add to your resume.  I think there is even a podcast related to this but I apologize I can't remember which one it is.  Maybe someone else will remember and post that. 

* Project Budget:  I know you said this isn't a possibility right now, but be ready when this does come round again.  Even if you don't own approval for the actual dollars, your idea for doing something like this is right on track.  You could use it to show your ability to estimate/forecast expenses, how to report actual vs target expenditures, and depending on the project, how you handle a project issue and not go over budget. 

* Find a non-profit and volunteer:  If you have the time, you can get lots of good experience by volunteering to help a non-profit.  It would be a way of getting some first hand experience and give back to your community at the same time.  Managing some aspect of the finances for a non-profit might not be quite as strong as a paid position, but you can put those results on a resume.  You might check with Wendii on that but I think it would be better than nothing.  (However if you try this one, keep in mind that leading volunteers is very different from managing direct reports.)


nicholbb's picture


What I've written below is a lot of reading between the lines from what you've said above, apologies if I've missed the mark.

First  point is that I get the impression that you think particular boxes need to be ticked before you can become a manager.  Management is just a type of job, like any job you are starting out in you only need to demonstrate the potential and the desire for the job.

You said your manager went for the same job as you (I presume he knows this) and it's his first management position.  It's possible that he's a little insecure about his new position and he's taking your requests as a threat to his position.  Alternatively it could be that as a new manager he doesn't know what to do with your ambition so he's taking the easy option out and saying I'd love to help but I can't.  Finally you say you didn't state you intention but he is well aware, unless he's psychic there is no grantee he knows your mind. 

 You are obviously motivated and that is one of your key strengths to be used.  Walk into his office and ask if he has 10 minutes to speak to you, sit down and make it clear to him that you want to move into management but you don't think you're getting the experience necessary to do this.  Request that you become his unofficial deputy; covering for him at meetings he's to busy to attend, becoming the main contact for a difficult customer (internal or external), becoming team leader for a number of people and take on the administrative duties including signing off holidays, probation and training/mentoring and anything else you can think of.  This all has the advantage of showing you're keen, showing you're acknowledging he's your manager, taking dull duties from him (that he'll probably want rid of) and providing you with experience.  If he says no you need to ask why and what you can do to advance yourself in the organisation. 

Hope this helps.