Author: Liz Codd
I’m in a Catch-22 situation. The team I’m part of has several experienced people in it, and there’s not much scope for me to gain management experience. However, I need more management experience for career progression and for my next role. Are there other ways to gain leadership and management expertise that would be attractive to fund management firms?
This is a great question, as you have described a classic situation many people find themselves in and on first glance appears to be an insurmountable problem - wanting to get experience but not being given the opportunity without having the experience! With regard to management and leadership, here are some solutions that I hope will be helpful:
- Think laterally about where you can get experience of doing similar activities but not in the exact same setting. For example, is there an opportunity to manage a project team, or an initiative, or similar, i.e. a temporary management role? Also, leadership can be experienced and demonstrated without being in a position of authority - is there something that you can take the lead on that you are passionate about? In some organisations there are special interest groups that require volunteers and enthusiasts to take the lead, such as diversity and inclusion, early careers programmes, mentoring programmes, etc.
- Look for management and leadership opportunities outside the work environment on a voluntary basis. Again, special interest groups, charities, institutes, clubs or societies that are looking for people who can take a lead or manage a programme, a project, or a leadership role on a committee.
- Build a strong foundation of knowledge and theoretical understanding of management so that you are well prepared for an interview (or opportunity to talk about the preparation you've done) when the time comes. I can recommend the book 'Being the Boss' by Linda Hill and Kent Lineback which covers the 'three imperatives for becoming a great leader' and is written for new managers and particularly the challenges of being promoted into a management role and managing people who were previously peers.
I hope there is a suggestion here that works for you.
Got a question? Write to me, and I’ll give you some advice, on an entirely anonymous basis.
Queries may be posted in anonymous, general terms, with Liz’s response, on our website. Liz may not be able to reply to all queries but will do her best to get back to you.
Liz Codd, Director, Leadenhall Consulting and Chief Coaching Officer, Coaching on Demand.