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Landing one’s first manager job is an exciting event and marks a major accomplishment in one’s career development. Successfully making the transition to a management position is not something that happens automatically. Having the technical skills and background in your field does not guarantee that you will have what it takes to be a good manager, as the bar is raised higher than just functional competence. In most cases, to get selected for a manager job, one has already displayed, at least at the raw level, that they are capable of abstract thinking, problem solving, high levels of communication, and leadership. Technical skills may have been the foot in the door, but other skill sets are needed to successfully manage other people.

Promotion to a manager job is just the beginning of a brand new journey into personal and professional development. Requirements to supervise, review, and create development plans for other people in addition to the functional tasks that one will have to perform can be a daunting transition. Successfully transitioning into a management position will require growth, training, education, and the application of newly developed talents particularly in the realm of human resource development.

In a manager job, one is expected to direct and develop other employees to the best of their abilities and to perhaps even groom them for future advancement as well. Managerial positions require a unique mix of focus on getting the job done and also making sure that the employee is growing in their own position. Never underestimate the power of purpose and its motivational features. Management positions are where one begins to make the transition from tactical to strategic thinking. Personal growth in management hinges on ones ability to successfully make this transition.

Within management ranks, one of the key aspects of development from entry level management positions to top management positions can be found in the ability to perform conceptual or abstract thinking. The ability to create, and then articulate, a long term vision is what really separates top management from the rest. Superior communication skills come into play as it becomes critical that complex ideas be laid out in an understandable fashion. Interpersonal skills are critical to making sure that others are on-board and fully behind supporting the necessary changes required to alter the status quo.

One key that runs through advancement across the ranks of management is leadership. Leadership is not a trumpet call to self-importance; it is an opportunity to serve. A manager job requires one to find that unique blend of staying on top of the technical aspects of the job while developing the ability to perform forward thinking and to excite others into action to accomplish new goals. The higher up the organization one moves, the more they will ask the question “What?” instead of “How?”

Another key to success in a manager job is understanding that the true power of getting more accomplished lies not so much in your own personal technical abilities, but much more so in the ability of your team to function as a complete unit. Sharing your technical expertise with others becomes an integral part of success as your employees begin to grow in their own levels of expertise. In many ways the ability to teach becomes as important as the ability to manage.

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