Moving Up Through the Ranks: Becoming a Manager

By Francine Fluetsch on January 30, 2014

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When getting a job, you are always going to start at the bottom and have to work your way up. Nothing comes for free and no one is just going to hand you a higher position, so if you want to move up you are going to have to put in a lot of time and effort.

If becoming a manager is something that you wish to achieve, here are some tips and advice from managers and superiors about how they went from an employee to where they are now, and about what people are looking for when they wish to promote someone.

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Education, education, education: A higher education shows that you are serious about your future and that you can handle the stress and expectations of a university.

Rudolf Muller, director of Lindt and Sprungli, said that the importance of education “doesn’t end with your degree–you have to stay abreast of new developments in your field of expertise as well as in Information Technology.”

You have to be willing to adapt to new concepts in your field, which will happen frequently. Our world is a fast-paced place, and showing that you can keep up will definitely impress your superiors.

Be a team player: This is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but being a team player is an essential part to moving up in the ranks.

Mykhaylo Shumko, a fourth year astrophysics and math student at UC Santa Cruz and a manager at the Cowell Dining hall, said “of course you aren’t going to be friends with every person that you work with, but try and at least have a good relationship with everyone.”

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Being part of a team is inescapable, so try and make the best of it. You don’t have to agree with everyone, but make sure to try and listen to their opinions. In the end, it’s all about respect.

Muller said that being a team player means that you have to “keep your cool in controversial discussions.”

You can point out the things that you don’t agree with but you should never attack someone personally. Superiors are going to want to promote someone who can function well on a team and be a leader without belittling anyone.

Want some tips about how to become a better team player? Here is an article by Dorie Clark in Forbes that will give you five tips on how to do so.

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Know what you are doing: Greg Banks, President of Banks Integration Group, said what makes a good manager is “someone who will be able to get the job done efficiently and doesn’t have to be checked up on.”

Your superiors are going to want to be able to rely on you, so you really need to show them that you know your stuff. Even when you get promoted and are more of an overseer, it is still good to know how all of the jobs work.

Shumko said you need to know the ins and outs of the job, because as a manager there are times when you will have to “get down and dirty with the little details” and you are going to need to know what you are doing. This being said, you don’t have to know absolutely everything and it is okay to ask for help. You just have to make sure you ask the right people.

Peter Gottschlich, founder and CEO of Automation GT, said that “the people that really want to manage enrich themselves by learning from others, such as coaches, other seasoned managers, or by training.”

Everyone has to learn somewhere, and showing initiative by wanting to learn will definitely earn you some brownie points. The best way to learn is by observing and then doing. If you get a head start and befriend your managers, you can watch how they go about doing things and have a reference point if you are promoted.

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Go above and beyond: If you want to get promoted, you are going to have to put in more effort than is asked of you. Shumko said that going the extra mile is actually how he got hired.

“Try and do something that will make you stand out–if your superiors see this they will definitely take note of it and give you a good reference.”

You need to show your manager that your job is important to you and you are committed to your company. A lot of people take the route of doing the bare minimum in order to skate by, so if you prove yourself and stand out, you will definitely have a good shot of advancing to a higher position.

Amer El-Arid, second year kinesiology student at De Anza Community College and manager at GNC, said you need to be more than just a hard worker.

“You need to show potential and passion for the job; you need to love what you do in order to move up,”he said.

Managers will see this passion in your work and will appreciate your effort. Going above and beyond is the key to getting yourself noticed.

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Be ready to make sacrifices: Rising up in the ranks means that you are going to bear the weight of more responsibility.

Gilbert Fluetsch, COO at Hoplon Financial Group, said that “job management can really put stress on relationships.”

Taking on more responsibility means that you have less personal time to spare, and since you can’t be in two places at once, you will have to be prepared to miss out on some things.

Fluetsch also mentioned that you have to be willing to “put in long hours.” The extra work doesn’t magically stop when you are able to land the job; you will have to show your managers that they made the right decision by promoting you, and make sure that you keep up the qualities that got you the promotion in the first place.

Banks said that he looks for “people to take responsibility for their tasks and deliver them without being asked.”

Accomplishing all of the things that are required of you will not always be easy, but the extra effort will prove that you have what it takes.

Proficiency in multiple languages: Knowing more than one language will make you stand out to your superiors, because our world is a global economy, and knowing other languages can help your business.

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Muller said to “become proficient in as many foreign languages as possible.”

The earlier you start learning, the easier it will be for you to pick up on a new language. It isn’t going to be a walk in the park, but if you are willing to put in the time, you will see the results.

According to this CNN article by Annalyn Kurtz, knowing a second language is a very sought-after job skill that many people lack. If you can set yourself apart by knowing another language, you are already one step closer to getting that promotion.

If you want more tips on what superiors are looking for, Banks said he uses the book People and Performance, by Peter F. Drucker, as a guideline for what he expects out of his managers.

Good luck!

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Hi! I'm Francine and I'm a fourth year Creative Writing major at UC Santa Cruz. I am one of the Campus life columnists on Uloop's National Team and also the campus editor for UCSC. I enjoy reading, writing, and taking selfies with my cat.

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