The Step Into Management

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At some point in our lives we all look around us and think (although we may not say it out loud) ‘I could do better than that’. Well, if that is the case then maybe it’s time you started to think about that move into management. Before you take that leap – and let’s face it, once you have the title “Manager” on your CV it’s a bit harder to go back – we should consider whether it’s the right decision.


Maybe the best way to start is to tell you of my own tentative steps on the road to management. I was very fortunate to start my career at Xerox on a graduate training scheme devised to give you all the skills you need to be a successful manager. My first job was to photocopy and bind thirty budget and strategy plans. So at 6:30am, crouched behind the copier trying to free up a jammed acetate, (for the Y generation amongst you this is a slide, pre PowerPoint), I was starting to wonder when the management training was going to begin.

It was then that I met the man that would inspire me. Dick H was a big sauntering American with confidence by the bucket load. He was CFO of all European operations and was here for the review. In isolation this would mean nothing but he asked me my name and thanked me for coming in early to prepare everything. OK, it made me feel good, but it was 3 years later when I next saw him and to my surprise not only did he recognise me and remember my name, but he had kept a watch on my progress. And he gave me two bits of great advice which I have upheld.  He said that your first job is to find your successor, so that you can move up the chain; and he said no matter how hard it might be, never expect anyone to do something that you yourself are not prepared to do. This is when I realised that not only did I want to be a manager, but I wanted to be like him.


I was fortunate enough to have a mentor. Some of you will and some of you won’t, and there is no manual out there to tell you how to be a manager. I suggest you pick the best from each manager you meet and use that as a foundation to build from.

As a manager you may have staff responsibilities as well as operational responsibilities. This brings its own challenges but can be extremely rewarding: developing your team, supporting and motivating your staff to be the best they can is very satisfying and will drive you in turn to be an even better manager. People will look to you for guidance and confidence in both good times and bad, and a consistency in the way you manage is key.

Talk to us

I have managed for the majority of my career and enjoyed it immensely. If you feel you’re ready for that first step into management then you probably are, and this is where your consultant can help. So give us a call and we can make sure your CV truly reflects your achievements and abilities, and having met you we can give you the best possible chance of convincing a client that you’re ready to manage.