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Manager or Leader? The Great Ones are Both

Manager and Leader

At Talentedly, we always look to buck the trend and challenge the status quo. After reviewing the data of the 200+ people that have gone through one of our premium online professional training programs, we discovered something interesting: the happiest and most content people are great managers and leaders. In traditional organizational theory, you are one or the other; we have found that while you can be a great leader, you can be a terrible manager … but the great managers are also great leaders.

With review season around the corner, it’s time to start preparing. For those of you who are looking to move into management, becoming a manager isn’t about hard work alone. It’s about hard work, preparation, planning and practice. Landing a managerial job (and building on your leadership) is a very doable feat – if you’re prepared. The two most important steps to becoming a first-time manager: the ask and the pitch.

The Ask

  • Ask yourself: Before asking for a promotion, ask yourself what you’ve accomplished in your current job. First, make a list of your accomplishments at work and outside of work. Active in community service? List it as collaborative or group management skills if you are leading an effort. Raise money for charity? Add it to the list, along with how much you raised and how often. Skills that you develop outside of the office should be highlighted and added to your overall skill set.
  • Ask your boss: Don’t ask for the promotion (yet). First, get online or ask HR for a listing of current managerial positions and read up on them. What are the required skills? What are the expectations of the job? It is important to know in advance what skills, experiences, and qualities the next level requires. And then, ask your supervisor for honest feedback about which areas you might need to work on. Inquire about any training programs you can take to address any developmental needs. You are better off having a plan for development and getting your boss to help you get there.
  • Ask your friends: So, as uncomfortable as it is, ask your friends or very trusted colleagues who are managers if they are willing to share how much they earn. If not, ask what percentage increase they received for their promotion. Get online and do your research. Most of the large recruiting firms, industry associations and research groups publish annual salary reports. Do your research on Monster.com, Salary.com and Indeed.com. If you don’t know what the “average ” manager makes, how will you know what to ask for when the negotiation begins?

The Pitch

You have to become your own PR firm and learn to pitch yourself and your value. So how do you do that? Well, you need to capture it and share it in two different ways: written and verbal.

  • Write it down: Do you keep track of your achievements? If not, sit down and start a bullet-point list of successes. Include relevant numbers — “By signing this new account, I increased our department’s revenue by 5 percent”. Keep it brief, to the point and fact based. You want to give the hiring manager brief, easy-to-digest material that showcases your capabilities and value as part of your written pitch. Things to think about: have you developed new processes that saved time or increased productivity? Note it. Did you support a coworker in closing a business deal? Account? Land a new customer? Or help to save some business for the company? Note it. You should keep track of everything you do every day.
  • Say it out loud: Jot down a short script for your pitch and then practice. And practice some more. Practice it in front of family, friends, and even trusted colleagues. Have them push your buttons – interrupt, take a phone call, maybe even laugh in your face. Ask a few of them to talk about some of your failed projects. Record yourself so you can see what you look, and sound, like to others. When the real pitch takes place, you’ll be able to react calmly and professionally to anything.

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More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.