So you want to be a manager but do not have any experience? That can be a challenge. The way to overcome your lack of experience is to find ways to demonstrate your skills in your current role. In order to help you, here are three questions to ask yourself to see if you are a management candidate worthy of consideration.
Are you already leading your current team?
When looking to fill a manager position, hiring managers look to identify those candidates who are already demonstrating their leadership abilities. Look at your current team and ask yourself, who is the leader? Who is the go-to person? If it is you, then you are in a great position to demonstrate your leadership abilities. If not, then you have some work to do. One option would be to ask your manager for opportunities to demonstrate your leadership skills.
Another option is to simply volunteer when the need arrives. In my career, one of my best moves was to volunteer for a project that no one wanted. The team I led was very successful in delivering the project and management quickly took notice of our accomplishments. I might not have been offered a management position if I had not volunteered for such an unwanted role.
A big challenge here is how to lead without being appointed the leader. Remember, I am not saying you need to try to take charge of the entire team. Instead, work to lead in areas lacking leadership. Volunteer when needs arise and always keep in good communication with other team members.
Are you already managing your current project?
Not only are hiring managers looking for candidates who are leading their team, they also want to see that the candidate is already displaying some project management capabilities. When your team is blocked or runs into an issue, who is the person seeking to resolve the blockage? Who is the person coordinating with other teams to assist in removing the blocking issues? Who is documenting what is needed to get the team back on track? Whoever that person is, they are the ones demonstrating project management skills.
When issues arise, instead of informing your manager or other team members and then waiting for them to take care of the issue, identify the issue, bring it to the teams attention, then take leadership in finding a resolution. Facilitate any necessary meetings with other key personnel and lead in researching a possible solution. Each of these will demonstrate that you have the ability to manage a project.
Are you a team player?
It may sound odd to ask this question when referring to a management position but managers serve on teams as well. They serve on a team with their direct reports as well as on a team with other managers. If you have difficulties working as a member of your current team, the management team may not be willing to take the risk in having you join their team. Team members rely on one another but at the management level, the consequences increase. Managers want to make sure other managers on their team are an asset and not a hindrance.
If you want to become a manager but do not have any experience, the key is to demonstrate your management skills in your current position. Always be looking for opportunities to lead and volunteer to handle issues. If you are consistent in your effort, your skills with begin to be noticed.