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Junior executive to manager: a journey

So you’ve just started work as a junior executive. You’re still learning the ropes of the trade as you try to establish yourself and progress up through the ranks. You’ve your eyes set on becoming a manager over time but you’re not sure what you should be doing in your day-to-day work life to boost your prospects.

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal which is worthwhile.”

Vince Lombardi Jr.

1. Learn, acquire skills

  • As a manager, you’ll need a thorough understanding of how everything under you works. If you’re aiming to be a manager, learn all you need to know to oversee the work done.
  • Some things have to be experienced, and can’t be learnt without a demonstration. Grab every opportunity that comes your way to work experience the business processes firsthand.
  • Seek out a mentor to teach and train you. Prove that you’re worth their time. Take on challenges and added responsibilities that would help you learn and acquire new skills. Network with experts and seniors in the field to grow and develop competence.
  • Attend workshops or training sessions you deem useful.


2. Develop interpersonal skills

  • As a manager, you’ll have to lead the organisation or a small part of the business. This is difficult to pull off without great people skills. Coordinating and getting quality work done within deadlines is a major job requirement to become a manager. Start learning how to effectively coordinate with multiple people. Learn how to convey your thoughts clearly and motivate your coworkers to get work done.
  • Be a team player. Look out for those on your team. Develop friendly relations with those you work with. Be empathetic towards their concerns. Listen to the opinion of your colleagues and seek feedback on how you can be a better partner.
  • If you are in a client facing position, be warm and polite with your clients. Try to understand client concerns and track grievances until they are resolved. Keep the clients informed to gain their confidence.
  • You can also take courses to improve your interpersonal skills with personality development coaches.


3. Teach/Mentor

  • Teaching your peers or your subordinates is an effective way of learning new things yourself.
  • Take initiatives and mentor interns or new employees in the work processes. Provide tips on how they can do things better. Besides earning the goodwill of your fellow employees and subordinates, you’ll also get into the good books of your superiors.
  • You can also organise workshops or training sessions to help those working for your company.


4. Act like a manager

  • Get the work done at any cost. Pay attention to detail and put in that extra effort to make your work stand out. Be involved and invested in the work you do.
  • Own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for those made by people working under you. Correct your mistakes and find out what went wrong to prevent further repeats.
  • Lookout for opportunities to prove your skills. Take on added responsibilities, exceed expectations, improve the efficiency of business operations and help your company fare better.
  • Be cautious not to be overbearing and do not boss people around.


5. Let others know your leadership aspirations

  • Let your higher ups know what you’re aspiring to be. Tell them how you want to be a manager and request guidance. Keep track of all the work that you do.
  • Seek promotions at the right time. For example, you might want to highlight your accomplishments after a major project you’ve pulled through. Be specific and try to quantify your achievements in the company’s service while pitching yourself.
  • You might have to compete with other employees and peers for a promotion. Be polite in all your dealings. Don’t let office politics and gossip get to you.

With patience and perseverance, you’re sure to make it to your dream. If you find you can’t progress in your present job or that the avenues for skill development are absent, look for other jobs with a long term perspective. You can find and apply for a wide range of jobs online, at

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