Episode 6: How to progress to management

Female businesswoman excused from a meeting to take a phone call

This is the sixth episode in the Robert Walters ‘How To’ podcast series hosted by Tom Andrew, Manager within the Robert Walters Operations team. The episodes in this series will be punchy, short, sharp messages to candidates about the current job market within certain sectors.  

Joining Tom in this episode is Liz McKeever, Associate Director at Robert Walters. Liz has 10 years of Robert Walters experience, she was once manager of the ops team, and now she looks over ops, tax & finance. This episode covers 'How To' progress to management and more importantly, what makes a successful manager. 

If you would like to get in contact with Liz or Tom please find their contact details below:

Liz McKeever - Liz.McKeever@robertwalters.com
Tom Andrew - Tom.Andrew@robertwalters.com

 

Tom Andrew
Manager
Robert Walters

LinkedIn

 

Liz McKeever
Associate Director
Robert Walters

LinkedIn

 

Transcript:

Tom Andrew:
Hello and welcome to the sixth episode of the Robert Walters ‘How To’ podcast series hosted by myself Tom Andrew, I look after the operations team here at Robert Walters and with me this week is someone with 10 years of Robert Walters experience. At one point managing the ops team, now ops, tax, finance and probably by the end of next year, a few more things, Liz McKeever. Thanks for joining.

Liz McKeever:
No problem, lovely to be here.

Tom Andrew:
Today we're going to speak about how to become a manager. This is a level which, frankly, no matter what desk your own we get the most churn of people, either trying to become a manager, or you know people who tried to become a manager and it hasn't quite worked out. So basically we want to work out today, in the very short time we have got, how to become a manager and for the last 10 years, what are the key skills that you see with successful managers?

Liz McKeever:
I think that first of all, with a manager it is a challenging role, because the expectation is you still do your day to day of probably what you were before, and then also you're taking on more in terms of line management. So I think that the key skill, you want to be able to demonstrate is time management. That you can look after what you were doing before, but also expand the role into looking at the people, training and coaching and those kind of things. I think time management is very important, but also, I think one of the things for being a manager which is a little bit, not challenging but you almost have to be doing the role before and demonstrating it beforehand, before you get promoted. Probably the same is true in any position. The things that a manager would do would be training new members of staff, helping to motivate the team, driving the team forward, looking at projects for the team, thinking about the brand of the team within the wider business, perception of the team. So if you're looking for advice, if you're looking to become a manager, start doing those things. That's how you will impress your superiors. So if you're thinking of becoming a manager, are you putting your hand up for extra tasks in the team, are you training new members of staff, do you think that people look up to you on the team, that kind of thing.

I think management for me, was all about leading from the front, if I want my team to respect me, think i'm credible, i've got to be doing all the things I want them to do. Personally, that's how I found it worked for me, for me it was about making placements, getting out there and meeting the businesses. Knowing that if I looked at something someone was doing, I'd be able to offer advice and guidance on it, I guess it's about being across everything that the team does. The key skills for being a manager I would think are about credibility and what you do, and knowledge. Confidence in your own brand and perception, time management I’ve touched upon, and also it's about taking pleasure in when other people do well. You know ultimately we're sales people, so we are quite selfish in nature maybe. I found the key to being a manager is about thinking I want more now other than my own success. I want to see other people develop and grow, it wasn't just about me anymore. That was a shift in mindset, for me, certainly.

Tom Andrew:
How about more so for the market that we deal with, because certainly isn't one of the issues, one of the reasons that people become managers, is almost because they get to the top of where they could be salary wise within a line position and they want to take that next salary earning step. Is manager sometimes one of those things, I think, potentially, where it goes wrong, where people go oh you've got 10 years’ experience now your manager. From your side of things, does the years of tenure make a difference, or could you have a good five year person who is adding a little bit something extra, step up?

Liz McKeever:
Absolutely I think that a lot of those positions are about kind of meritocracy rather than it being about tenure. Definitely yes, basically because there might be certain people who maybe don't want to be a manager and that's okay if you're happy working in a position at a certain level. That's wonderful you know, keep going as long as you're satisfied with your role that's great but if you’re feeling that maybe that you want to do more. It's not about tenure, it’s about being satisfied in your role and feeling like you’re getting challenged every day. So certainly for someone if let's say been in their role for two years and is really enjoying it but think you want to do more, then management, hopefully, could be an option for you to put you back in the pain zone, where you're being challenged. I think it certainly shouldn’t be about tenure, it should be about attitude and wanting to do more in your role.

Tom Andrew:
Wanting to do more, like that phrase the pain zone.

Liz McKeever:
That's what my boss told me once, you want to think of yourself at work as being on a pendulum, and when you're swinging all the time, when your on the left hand side that’s really easy you're quite complacent, and then you get a new job you push yourself into the pain zone and then gradually you get to know that role so you go back back back back back back into the easy bit. So ultimately you ideally want to be swinging somewhere between pain and a bit easy. So you want to be in your role thinking I don't know how to do this and, rather than that being a bad thing, that's a good thing, you’re thinking, who am I going to ask, where can I get the information from. It's okay to not know everything about your role, because otherwise you'd probably be getting bored.

Tom Andrew:
Absolutely, so I suppose the secrets to success then for those people wanting to step up, it is taking that initiative, showing that you want to do more, but I think this bit gets skipped over too much for when we're looking to hire managers. When we get an entry level role is a first level manager, the amount of times that people want to hire with previous management experience is because it's less of a step in terms of showing that extra level of care, attention to detail actually bothering to spend the time with people around you. You can see that, and obviously there's frustrations from the market, the people who think I can't get a manager role, without being a manager already, and you can see how they can get frustrated with that.

Liz McKeever:
We particularly now in the market are so busy that we all must educate our hiring managers on would you look at somebody taking a step up? You’re absolutely right, it's not going to work for every position we're recruiting for, maybe they had a really experienced manager, maybe the team's really junior so they need somebody who's got experience in management. But there are going to be certain positions we have where the line managers are open to somebody who's taking a step up so it's about us and the candidate or the individual looking for a role, working together to demonstrate on the CV how you have done those management things. So it's about the CV saying the day to day but also mentioning training, going to project meetings, things like that. So we've got to help, absolutely and if that's the direction you want to take your career in, work with us and lets add those elements to the CV. Also, you know how many times has happened to you Tom, you say to someone when did you train new members of staff, is it on your CV? No. Get it on there. Put things on there, who goes to meet the regulator's? me. Things that you think are obvious on the CV put them on there, tailor it accordingly. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t put everything you do on your profile.

Tom Andrew:
I think people forget that their CV is not just a box checking. That's what gets you in front of people, you have to put what's relevant to the job on there.

Obviously we've been keeping these reasonably punchy, reasonably short, but we want our candidate base to get to know us as much as we are trying to reach out to them so a less serious question. You just had a birthday, we’ve got Christmas coming up, what's your favourite way to celebrate?

Liz McKeever:
I'm from a massive family, one of four siblings so we are all mad competitive. We have a talent show on Christmas Day. I’ve never won it, which is a bone of contention, and so that's how I like to celebrate.

Tom Andrew:
They don’t even give you a gold medal?

Liz McKeever:
There is no award for participation Tom. Clearly it has not been as big recently because of Covid but we've had a Christmas Day once with 30 people there, and everyone has to do a talent. Our granny judges but she wants everyone to win so sometimes she votes for everyone which isn't again how we want to do it. I like to celebrate with my family, a glass of fizz, with some food. The people around me, I am happiest when there's a crowd, chaos is my quiet place.

Tom Andrew:
Just to quickly wrap things up here, who are you looking to reach out to you this week. We're talking about managers what senior level roles have you got on?

Liz McKeever:
So i've got two positions at the moment, one on the tax side. Tax is a really hot area at the moment, there's lots of recruitment going on there, so if anybody has got tax experience, indirect tax, direct tax, UK tax, international tax, come and see me. Even if you're moving internationally, need sponsorship again that fine our clients are open to that because the market is very squeezed at the moment. Then also i've got a treasury management position role. Treasury can be quite broad sometimes cash management, sometimes FX, sometimes liquidity management. The role i've got at the moment is a combination of all three. So if you've done some liquidity management, some FX some kind of normal, traditional cash management, get in touch.

Tom Andrew:
Beautiful, well there we have it episode number six. Thanks for joining, as always contact information for myself and guest Liz will be in the information with the podcast, please reach out, I look forward to hearing from you and have a great week, thank you.

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