So - let’s say you’re interested in moving into a leadership role in tech. Congrats! But what’s the next step on how to secure that next promotion? Whether it’s at a new company, or your current one, below are some of our top suggestions and things to consider when you’re trying to make that next move.
1. Find the solution, or be the solution. “When you’re at work, do you find yourself relaying the problem, or solving the problem?” says Santa Blalock, Recruiting Manager at Recruiting from Scratch.
Another way to think of this question is - are you a person that people come to when they have a problem and are in search of a solution? Keep note of your conversations for several weeks and interactions with other people at work. You can also take note of what your response is when there’s a problem that presents itself at work. Are you able to calmly work through the issue, even if it’s stressful or uncomfortable? This could be a sign it’s time to move into more leadership positions.
2. Delegate and set an example. One of the ways a leadership role is different from an individual contributor role is because you’ll need to get comfortable with delegating tasks and asking others to help with projects. “Ask yourself - do you find yourself creating tasks for others to complete, or do you complete them yourself?” Santa asks.
Check in with yourself and do an audit of your day-to-day work. Are you comfortable assigning work to other team members? Are you the go-to person for breaking down a sizable project into smaller, more achievable milestones for a team? If so, you may be a good delegator - and this can be an asset as you move into leadership roles.
3. Relate to others and practice empathy. While you and your coworkers may come from different backgrounds, or have different opinions or personalities, chances are you have at least a few things in common. Always try to find some commonalities you share with your coworkers, instead of focusing on traits of theirs you find different from your own. Ask yourself - do you find yourself getting annoyed by small details (like a coworker who has a different work style), and can you re-channel that energy into your own projects? Others will take note if they notice your empathy for others, and your name may start to come up as a person others want to be around - and as a leader.
4. Practice confidence. Are you confident, and do other people describe you as confident? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment when it comes to talking about your skills, abilities, and communication skills at work? In order to move into more senior engineering or tech positions, you need to hold a high opinion of your work so that others will too.
5. Work on your mindset. “As a leader, you have to wear many different hats with a smile, and love every second of it,” Santa says. Sometimes, you may need to motivate your team and help them stay positive, even when the challenges feel enormous. Or maybe other times, you may need to be forceful and unafraid to ask for what you want (even if it makes people uncomfortable). In many engineering and tech roles, the projects ahead may seem daunting - i.e. short timelines, or high pressure - but shifting your mindset so you can remain focused for your team is essential.