How to become a manager

How to become a manager

What makes a good manager?

It is taken as read that you will need skills and experience in your sector to be able to manage a team properly and well. However, the most important skills you will need for being a good manager are communication, persuasion and leadership.


A good communicator is:

  • Accurate – put your case forward sensibly and honestly, exaggerating will lead to an unreliable reputation.
  • Clear – Less is more. Using fewer words can deliver a more clear, concise and understandable message.
  • Constructive – seek solutions by taking a problem-solving approach to issues.


This is one of the most important leadership qualities which includes being:

  • Confident – certainty is key to making your messaging compelling. Avoid ‘could’, ‘may’ or ‘I think’.
  • Credible – demonstrate you know what you are talking about to ensure your team will be persuaded.
  • Positive – emphasise the benefits for your team to deliver a clear and positive outcome.


Leadership qualities do not always come naturally to everyone, most people will need to learn them. To be a good leader take charge to earn the respect of colleagues which includes being:

  • Positive – a positive attitude will rub off on your team and keep them focussed on the task in hand.
  • Passionate – be enthusiastic about what you are doing as a team; if you are inspired they will be too.

How to become a manager

Learning how to be a manager takes time and practice. But taking on your first managerial role is an exciting time as you move into the next phase of your career.

Effective managers motivate employees and improve a company or organisation’s overall performance. Becoming a manager and assuming a leadership role and functions takes planning and preparation.

The first step to determine whether a managerial role is right for you by researching management responsibilities. Research manager jobs, the remit of the role, the essential skills and qualifications required and what an average salary looks like.

This research will equip you for applying for managerial roles whether they be in your existing organisation or a new company. You will be well-informed about what to expect in your new role and what employers are looking for in a manager.

Before applying to be a manager make sure you assess your skills and qualifications to determine whether the time is right for you to step up to the role. An assessment will determine whether you have the knowledge and experience to meet the job description criteria of a managerial role. Do you have a leadership mentality? Do you work well under pressure? Are you good at providing constructive feedback to colleagues?

Other manager qualifications to assess are skills in relationship-building; communication; time management; strategic planning; problem-solving; decision-making and coaching and mentoring.

Consider seeking advice and feedback from your own immediate manager before applying for a new role. This feedback will inform whether you need to develop your skills and experience in order to be a successful managerial candidate.

Also look for opportunities within your existing role to enhance your prospects for becoming a manager. Volunteer to take on additional tasks or support colleagues. This shows initiative and can open you up to more professional development opportunities.

And explore coaching and mentoring opportunities which will help develop and improve your leadership skills as you move towards becoming a manager.

All these actions show willingness, initiative and tenacity and can be added to your CV to demonstrate your qualifications, skills, knowledge and experience, putting you in a strong position to be a successful candidate when applying for managerial roles.

Top tips on becoming a manager include:

  • Work on your communication, persuasion and leadership skills to become an effective manager.
  • Speak with senior and more experienced colleagues for advice on what makes them skilful leaders. Observing leaders in action will also help inform how to effectively manage teams and their responsibilities.
  • Do not underestimate the importance of delegation and your time management in a leadership role. You cannot do everything yourself and managing your workload is key to being a good and successful leader.
  • Cultivate a positive and honest relationship with your team and be willing to get stuck in when required.
  • Take time to train and motivate your staff. Give them responsibility and accountability to gain experience and develop their careers while maintaining morale.
  • Create a positive atmosphere. Happy staff are productive staff.
  • Plan ahead. Keep in mind your business strategy at all times to ensure you and your team can realistically deliver targets on deadline and to budget.

Got the job?

Now it is time to demonstrate your leadership skills in your new managerial role. To make sure you get off to a good start, do not forget to:

  • Keep building relationships – you now represent your team to the rest of your company. You will be working with other managers and senior colleagues so build a relationship with everyone.
  • Team building – build trust and confidence by offering one-to-one feedback sessions with your team. This is an effective and valuable way to gather information about issues you can then address.
  • Celebrate wins – it’s important to recognise achievements even the smallest wins. Celebrate with your team to help improve engagement and teamwork, build morale and overall wellbeing.
  • Seek support – new managers need support to develop their leadership skills. Benefit from coaching, mentoring and training programmes to continue your professional development.


Don’t forget full IoD membership gives you free access to independent and confidential business advice from a panel of expert advisors who cover a vast range of business topics.  Find out more about the IoD’s Information and Advisory Service here

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