Hello SOTGC community,
So, you’ve done all the right things.
- You followed the unwritten How to Become a Manager Playbook to a T.
- You worked with your mentor to create a solid career plan.
- You attend leadership development workshops, take on stretch assignments, and manage high-profile projects.
- You’re a top performer who is respected by your customers and peers.
The time is now. So, you apply for that open manager position. You prepare for every possible question they could throw at you and you nail the interview. Or so you think…
Then you hear those dreaded words: We’ve chosen another candidate – one with management experience.
You go from articulate professional to Despicable Me minion in 30 seconds flat. Whaaaat?
It’s the age-old leadership catch-22. You can’t get the position without the experience, but you can’t gain experience unless you’re in the position.
Before you pull your hair out or give up, here are three more tips to demonstrate your readiness for leadership.
- Know the role. I recently had a client who landed her first management job. She was psyched. A few weeks later, though, during one of our coaching sessions, her enthusiasm had taken an obvious nosedive. She said, “I had no idea how much time managers here spend in meetings! When am I supposed do my job and develop my team?” Do your research and have a solid understanding of – and a plan to manage – the day-to-day realities associated with being a manager.
- Coach up. One of my roles as a coach is to challenge assumptions – those limiting beliefs a client holds true without evidence or proof (e.g. I’ll never be a good public speaker). If you receive vague feedback that you aren’t ready for leadership, don’t get defensive or start rattling off all the development activities you’ve completed. Instead, coach up. Ask for specific examples of how you can demonstrate your leadership skills. Or, ask how your manager was able to demonstrate that she was ready for her first management position. This process may uncover any incorrect assumptions about your readiness to lead others.
- Remember the interview doesn’t end at the end of the interview. No, this isn’t a riddle. Here’s what I mean. I once worked with a woman (we’ll call her Bonnie) who had been an assistant manager for two years. When the manager position opened up, Bonnie assumed she was a shoe-in for the job. She did well enough in the interviews but the hiring director had some valid concerns about her professional maturity. When Bonnie learned she didn’t get the promotion, she was angry and hurt – and she made sure everyone knew it. She yelled, cried, and slammed office doors. She managed to prove the director’s concerns to be true and ruined any chances for future leadership opportunities.
Are you a people-manager? If so, how did you overcome the leadership experience conundrum?
Main Photo credit: www.Wisepreneur.com