Becoming a manager? September 3, 2012Posted by Mark Prosser in : Industry Focus, The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at C2 - Releasing Potential
So you have your eye on that managerial role, but is aiming for it the best option for you and if it is, what might be stopping you from getting it?
It almost seems like a norm of our society that we should whenever and wherever possible try to climb the career ladder and progress into and up through management. For some this may be suitable but for others a different approach might be more satisfying.
Before applying for management positions there are a few key factors you might consider, such as:
Asking yourself if you have the right skills to be a manager. Have you been properly trained and prepared for the task of managing others? Do you really want to manage others?
By moving up the career ladder, you will naturally be given more responsibility which may lead to an increased work load. Is this something you are prepared for?
It’s also important to consider when to go for a managerial role. If you have plans to leave the company in the near future, getting promoted, trained-up and then leaving shortly afterwards might reflect negatively on you.
It’s also important to think about the position being offered. For example has the role seen a line of people come and go in quick succession? If so this could be a warning sign.
If moving into a managerial position is the thing for you then what can you do to ensure that you stand out of the crowd in the right way?
It can be useful when thinking about this to try and step into the shoes of the manager who will be interviewing you for a junior management job. 3 things that they might consider when choosing who to promote might be:
1. Who looks and acts the part.
When they look at the employees in the office, they will be asking themselves: Who takes their work seriously? Who does the bare minimum and who goes that extra mile? Who dresses like they mean business and who pushes the boundaries in terms of what is acceptable appearance wise? If you want to be taken seriously you have to look and act the part.
2. Who is amiable yet respected?
Another aspect being considered is the interpersonal skills of the applicants. Who gets on well will others? Who manages the balance well between being too assertive and not assertive enough in their inter-personal interactions?
3. Who is organised?
The third thing they might be looking for is someone who is organised and who knows how to prioritize well. If you barely manage your own workload now, it is unlikely you will be able to manage yours in addition to somebody else’s. Having a good ability to prioritize is key to being a good manager.
In short just because a managerial position is there, doesn’t mean you should automatically apply for it. A close look at yourself, your current situation and the position itself is necessary first.
Are Women Better Leaders? August 16, 2012Posted by Katherine Dallal in : The Careers Group Blogs , add a comment
Originally posted at C2 - Releasing Potential
Our grandmothers were raised to believe that women belonged in the home; they supported their husbands, reared their children and managed the household. Some of them never worked a day in their lives and fulfilled their roles exceptionally. Two generations later and some feminist groups would be up in arms if you even thought like this. In fact we we’ve made so much progress that to most women in their 20s and 30s that world is an alien concept. We’re all so familiar with the adage of women ‘having it all’, juggling the pressure of raising a family and having a high powered career.
In the 1960s about 35% of women worked – we’re a far cry from that today. Fifty years on and the game has changed. So much so, that according to recent research carried out by Zenger and Folkman, women make better leaders. This research led Erika Andersen to entitle her article on the Forbes website: ‘The results are in: Women are better leaders’
Zenger and Folkman’s research in 2011 surveyed 7,280 leaders and judged their leadership success based on 16 competencies; these focused on the judgment of their peers, bosses and direct reports of how good a leader they are. They concluded that, ‘at every level, more women were rated by their peers, their bosses, their direct reports, and their other associates as better overall leaders than their male counterparts — and the higher the level, the wider that gap grows.’
Erika Andersen’s article agreed saying that in her experience women: ‘build better teams; they’re more liked and respected as managers; they tend to be able to combine intuitive and logical thinking more seamlessly; they’re more aware of the implications of the their own and others’ actions; and they think more accurately about the resources needed to accomplish a given outcome.’
The two categories women far outscored men were ‘in taking the initiative’ and ‘driving results’, which is different from the stereotype of women being better at the more ‘nurturing’ competencies such as ‘developing others’ and ‘building relationships’. However, the area where men outscored women was on their ‘ability to develop strategic perspective.’ Although there are still areas where women could improve, the results are very encouraging ambitious women hoping to rise to top positions and challenge the dominance of men in this area. At the highest level, 78% of the mangers surveyed were men.
In the age of celebrating women as leaders – which has seen a range of films from the comedy; I don’t know How She Does It, centred on the life of a women coping with having it all, or the portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady – have we changed the tide?
Watching shows like Mad Men, you wonder, have we shed the image of women occupying professions such as teaching, secretarial or librarianship? Are more women aspiring to board room positions and is it any easier to get there? And if we as a gender outshine men at the top, why aren’t there more of us there?
Andersen suggests that this attitude of traditionally female jobs being secretarial has not dispelled and that men tend to hire other men – what do you think?
podcasts , add a comment
Not all companies produce podcasts, but you might be surprised by how many do. These are definitely worth seeking out as you can get a feel for the people who work in the companies, the arguments they use, the attitudes they hold. It is more personal than reading a website. And with some companies who update regularly, you can find out their latest thinking in a more digestible form than reading a full report.
Here are some company podcasts I found, either by searching a company website, googling, or by searching the podcasts section of the iTunes store.
Deloitte Insights podcasts – the Global insights podcast is good, and there are a number of country-specific Insights podcasts available too
Credit Suisse podcasts - includes Economy & Finance and Global Investor
Aon – Insurance, Pensions and Consulting – about the Aon graduate scheme
J.P. Morgan Asset Management Insights – for a focus on investment
Accenture podcasts – Business and Tech – a range of series available here including financial services, information management, management consultancy and systems. From a quick search it looks like there are more podcasts available in different specialist areas of the site.
Deutsche Bank RSS & podcasts – headlines and press releases
McKinsey Global Institute – audio articles
podcasts , add a comment
****Be aware this content is over two years old****
If you have a bit of spare travel time on your way to uni or work, why not give these podcasts a go to develop your commercial awareness – essential for interviews. I regularly listen to these ones and subscribe to them via iTunes so I can vouch for their quality!
Listen to Lucy – Lucy is the FT’s management columnist, and in snappy five minute podcasts she pulls apart assumptions about management and career planning – through-provoking and entertaining.
Martin Wolf – the FT’s chief economics commentator, reads his weekly column
Wake up to Money – daily business and financial news from the BBC. Also available every weekday morning on BBC Radio 5 live at 5.30am…
Careers in the City – Choosing a Career in the City – a top speaker from our City Course, Catherine Sweet, gives great insight into career choice.
The Bottom Line with Evan Davis – weekly interviews with influential business leaders.
Planet Money – (my favourite) – explores economic theory in a hands-on approach featuring plenty of real-life stories. It is US-based, but discusses global trends and relevant stories to us in the UK. What causes inflation? Why do people buy gold? What is a mortgage bond and a toxic asset?
Business Weekly – BBC World Service podcast looking at current hot topics in business, management and economics.
Bloomberg – range of podcast series on news, economics, politics and the market
TEDtalks – not limited to business, but these podcasts are worth attention as examples of great presentation skills. TED has a reputation for hosting outstanding, inspiring talks.
Do you have any favourites you’d add to the list?