No matter what your career, you probably aspire to become a great manager. After all, this is how you achieve financial success and professional prestige. A lot of people believe you can “learn management” like a skill but we disagree. Reading the fluffy management books or getting a degree in management doesn’t automatically turn you into a great manager.
Instead, we believe you need four things: time, commitment, talent, and knowledge. Time and commitment aren’t something you learn… you either decide to dedicate yourself or you don’t. Talent is mostly about your people and communication skills and is again very difficult to learn. So we’ll focus on knowledge. How can you learn to think strategically, how can you use the information at your disposal effectively, and how can you develop a well-rounded approach to knowing your industry/organization in depth.
There’s no fluff in our learning path like most management books and curriculums. We want to develop the skill, focus on tangible things you can do to improve, and fill your resume to get a management job.
Let’s get started. On the left, each tab represents a topic and then within each, we’ll discuss the best way to learn. We want to help you be well-rounded and versatile, which is very important in any business management function. Here we go…
Being a good manager isn’t overly complicated. It really comes down to four main topics. If you can master these, you’re likely to be quite good.
Most books and courses over-complicate and focus on the wrong things. They talk about fluff and theory rather than the things that really make the biggest difference. There’s no textbook way to be a good manager. Different styles and approaches can be good in some circumstances and bad in another. So we want to focus less on style/approach and more on the things you can control. A lot of this is just common sense, but the idea is to simplify it so you can focus your energies correctly.
So we wrote our own free article that talks all about the subject Good Manager: What it Is and Isn’t
The first topic we’ll cover in this learning path is financials. Any manager will be in charge of a some type of budget. And in many circumstances, the outcome they’re accountable for will be measured financially. In business, pretty much everything comes down to one question – Are you making money? If the answer is no, the business is in a lot of trouble. If the answer is yes, you’re doing well.
As a manager, you should thus be well-trained in understanding finance and being trained to think in financial-terms. You should be well versed in ROI, NPV/IRR, reading financial statements, planning your budgets and assessing variances, and many other financial topics.
Every manager should be proficient in thinking strategically. You are no longer in a role of rolling up your sleeves and doing detailed work. Management requires thinking bigger picture and aiming for strategic goals. It also requires utilizing all the resources at your disposal to formulate and articulate a strategy. And finally, measuring progress towards accomplishing those strategic goals and adjusting as new information dictates.
A lot of managers struggle with being able to think strategically and make strategic decisions. So we would suggest Advanced Competitive Strategy and Business Strategy: An Guide to Effective Decision-making
A good manager understands all the resources at their disposal and allocates it to the places where they will be most effective in realizing the strategy and desired outcome. Resources might include people, process, technology, capital, knowledge, external help, partnerships/joint ventures, and more. The trick is understanding what resources you have and being capable of making decisions on how to allocate them.
Where can you help advance this skill? We like Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions
Managers don’t accomplish their goals in isolation. They’ll usually be put in charge of a team that will jointly work toward accomplishing the strategic goals and outcomes. While we talked about allocating people to the right roles in the prior tab, you also should be capable of enabling each member of the team to do their best work and for the team to collectively perform well. Thus, you’ll want to have some good skills in most effectively utilizing the human resources on your team.
Too many learning sources focus on style and approach when it comes to human resources. In the first tab’s article, we dispelled that myth of there being a single style/approach that yields good results. However, you can still utilize your human resources well by embracing your role as manager/leader and dedicating yourself to certain managerial practices.
On this subject, we really like First Break All the Rules and New Manager Skills: Manage People, Teams & Processes
Every manager will be responsible for something different and will thus have a unique process to accomplish those responsibilities successfully. That process will cover the details of how you get from Point A to Point B in accomplishing the desired outcome.
The process can thus have a large impact on a manager’s performance. A good process can produce higher quality results and/or do things at a more efficient cost. It’s the manager’s responsibility to implement a sound process that focuses on accomplishing their preferred outcome.
While we can’t tell you what process is right/wrong (because every one is different), we can help you with how to think about process, measure results, and make adjustments as necessary.
This is one of the hardest parts for aspiring managers. The paradox where in order to become a manager you need experience but the only way to get experience is to become a manager.
The good news is many people find ways to overcome this. We have creative ideas to help you bolster your resume with real management experience. Take a look at our article – Get Management Experience
We commend you for your choice learn business management skills. This will help you take the next step up in your career. But how can you turn skills into real job outcomes?
The following guides will help you apply your new skills and see significant career benefit…
It’s pretty tough to differentiate yourself in the job market. But now that you’ve learned a valuable new skill, we think you can do it with your resume.
For more information and to sign up, visit our Building a Top Resume Guide Page
Cover letters are the first thing employers will see when you’re applying to them. So you certainly want it to look good and make a strong case for you to get the job!
For more information and to sign up, check out our page Writing Amazing Cover Letters Guide
Now that you have better qualifications, it’s time to PROVE it to employers. This is what they love even more than resumes! Portfolios are your edge compared to other applicants.
The Portfolio Guide will help with…
For more information or to sign up, visit our page – Creating a Professional Portfolio Guide
The interview is the equivalent of closing the sale. This is when you’re getting more personalized and thus requires substantial preparation.
Here’s what this guide covers…
For more information or to sign up, visit our page Owning the Interview Guide
Everyone should know how to do a business proposal but few do! Yet it’s so important to advance in your career (job applications, bidding on work, proposing ideas, etc).
For more information or to sign up, visit our page The Business Proposal Guide
Sales can be a freelancer’s biggest challenge. But it doesn’t have to be so bad. We’re here to help! This guide will help you improve with:
For more information or to sign up, visit our page – Increasing Freelance Sales Guide
Rather than go from gig to gig, you can do better. Your freelancing can be built into a full business and earn much better, more consistent revenue.
This guide helps the freelancer:
For more information or to sign up for this guide, visit our page at Freelance Gigs to Lucrative Business Guide
Now that you’ve improved your managerial skills, it’s time to focus on how to write them specifically. What do employers look for when hiring managers?
This guide is one of a kind… we don’t know of anyone else providing such specific advice! And best of all, it’s super cheap! For more information or to sign up, check out our page:
We want to work with YOU directly. What can we focus on?
For more information or to sign up for a time slot today, visit our page Reverse Tide Personalized Career Services