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Things Middle Managers Can Do to Reach the Next Level

February 18, 2016

There’s no reason you should ever feel stuck in the middle. Below are some tips on how to advance from middle management into higher ranks.

When you first start your career, moving up can seem simple. You keep your head down, you stay ambitious and hungry and, as time passes, you slowly but surely move up the ladder. Once you reach middle manager stature, though, things can become more difficult. Job opportunities seem to thin at the higher levels and can make middle managers feel frustrated and stagnant. That’s when it’s time to shake yourself. It’s possible for managers to rise from the middle, as long as they continue to look forward and prove they can act like a leader. However, you will need more than just the desired skill set. The following steps will help pave the way to that next promotion.

Continually ask for input

When you first receive a new project, go to your boss or supervisor for suggestions on how the process differs from other projects. Are there any new processes you should be consider? This conversation will not only help you complete the project more successfully, but it will let your boss know that you care about the project’s success and want to make sure you aren’t going over their (or anyone else’s) head.

Manage your meetings

Have a clear agenda and expectations. Have them printed out and in front of all the meeting participants. Should things wander off course, make a note of the new topic and promise to address it at the end of the meeting. Make sure to be confident but not controlling. This will earn you respect and recognition with your colleagues.

Find a mentor

It can’t be overstated how essential a mentor can be. Whether you plan to stay at your current company or look elsewhere, you need to have someone in a higher position who can coach you on the nuances of the industry and politics of the organization. Ideally, this mentor can be within your company and have the opportunity to talk up your achievements to those who can promote you. What’s more, this person can be an influential resource to brainstorm ideas with and introduce you to the right people.

Make your ambitions known

If your goal is to move up at your current job, your bosses should be aware. If not, you might get overlooked for higher positions. However, you want to be sure not to come off as too aggressive or impatient. While you want to make it known that you have high hopes for yourself, you also need them to know your loyalty to the organization. Otherwise, they might think you’ll leave for a better opportunity.

Advance your education

In order to advance your career professionally, it is essential to gain experience through education. There are few C-level executives who haven’t obtained post-graduate degrees. Tim Cook (Apple), John Watson (Chevron) and Randall L. Stephenson (AT&T) are a few of the Top 10 Fortune 500 CEOs with a masters degree. A common misconception is that you can’t work while getting an MBA. However, advancements of the Internet have allowed colleges, such as California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB), to offer MBA programs that are 100% online.

At CSUMB, you have the flexibility to complete your online MBA in just 24 months – WASC Accredited and NO GMAT required. Our program is geared towards working professionals who are looking to grow in their career, and CSUMB wants to help you climb from the middle to the top. Learn more on our variety of programs today.