Women in Management

by Rita Bailey

Junior manager - strategy

As an aspiring junior manager at the beginning of your journey, you naturally want to make the most of the opportunities ahead of you as you start to look ahead and decide what your career path will be. Choosing your direction and the outcome you wish for means being proactive. Whether you believe in the glass ceiling or not, or whether or not you have already experienced it, understanding what you have in terms of talents and capabilities, and then identifying what you will need if you are to break through to the next level is vital at this and any stage of your career.

I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.

Maya Angelou

Being proactive means securing the pay and promotion you dearly want. This requires creating a clear strategy to help you to navigate your way through the organisational waters. Being aware of what can help or hinder your progress is what is needed at the beginning of your advancement in management, so this is the time to secure the support you need.

But first, what is your current situation?

  • Have you attempted to secure a new role and not succeed yet?
  • Do you feel unsure about what is required at the next level?
  • Perhaps your confidence is not so great and you need additional support?

Have a plan

You have got to grips with your role, responsibilities and expectations, depending on how long you have been in the role, so what are your key accomplishments and key results? This is the opportunity to review what you have achieved, as this will provide the evidence of success for the next role. If you achieved what you set out to do in this role, this is great; if you still have to make your mark, then the next twelve months will be the time to gain some quick wins.

When you think of the next promotion you want, are you clear about what the selectors are looking for? Looking at job descriptions or person specifications will help you, but will not be enough to get you that next role. This is when you will need to do your investigative work and talk to people who can help. For example, talk to someone who is already in the role and ask them exactly what it entails. Armed with this knowledge, ask yourself

  • Do my current accomplishments prepare me for where I’m planning to go next?
  • Do they give me the credibility to convince a recruitment panel that I’m the ideal candidate?

Make a list of all your accomplishments and highlight the ones you know demonstrate you are the ideal candidate for that role. If you need more objectivity, get someone you trust to help you evaluate your skills and abilities and tailor your list.


One of the key qualities valued at higher levels is the ability to pull a team together and achieve complex tasks. This enables you to shine with the help of the efforts and talents of whole team, so you will achieve much more than you could on your own.

What is your plan?

Having a plan, complete with your personal goals and outcomes, is a pre-requisite for ensuring you achieve that next level in management.

Think about what it is you want and when you actually want to achieve it. Deciding on a time scale will keep you focused, while having a coach or a mentor who can keep you true and honest with your plans is also beneficial.

Begin with ‘the end in mind’: what is that end/outcome you are planning to achieve? Work your way back, imagining the steps you took to get your outcome.

Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. If you are to achieve this new position, the actions you will need to take will be significant. You will be required to step out and adopt some new strategies, such networking, raising your profile and asking for a mentor, things you may not initially feel comfortable with.

As with any new plan, we all need encouragement with our new direction. Start to take action to make it happen. When you look at where you are now and your end goal, ask yourself how it will be for you if you do nothing.

The next stage in filling out your plan and making sure it will work is to examine your Self Knowledge and skills and take a clear look at your existing and potential Supporters.