The Finance Leader Podcast

088: Earning a Promotion to Manager

May 31, 2022 Stephen McLain Season 10 Episode 8
The Finance Leader Podcast
088: Earning a Promotion to Manager
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Show Notes Transcript

Are you on track for a promotion? What does it take to be promoted from individual contributor to manager? You must show potential for greater responsibility. You need a combination of mature soft skills, good character and high emotional intelligence, deliver results every time, and be able to treat people fairly without bias. If you can prioritize your actions correctly, clearly communicate a vision, and follow through with incredible results, you will be in line for promotion to manager in no time. 

Episode outline:

  1. Be of good character, strong ethics, and have a never-quit attitude,
  2. Over deliver on results,
  3. Develop the key soft skills,
  4. Know how to prioritize, and
  5. Show potential for greater responsibility.

Please connect with me on:

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4. LinkedIn: stephenjmclainiii

Consider joining The Finance Leader Podcast Community Facebook Group, where we can talk leadership and the other topics I present here on the podcast.  This is a good time to jump in and start sharing ideas and thoughts about leadership so we can help each other.

For more resources, please visit On the website, you can download the Leadership Growth Blueprint for Finance and Accounting Managers. You can use this guide to develop your leadership by focusing on communication, and growing and empowering your team.

You can now purchase a course to help you advance your career from It's called Advance Your Finance and Accounting Career: Developing a Promotion Strategy that Sets You Apart.

Stephen McLain:

Are you on track for a promotion? What does it take to be promoted from individual contributor to manager? You must show potential for greater responsibility. You need a combination of mature soft skills, good character, and high emotional intelligence. deliver results every time and be able to treat people fairly without bias. If you can prioritize your actions correctly, clearly communicate a vision and follow through with incredible results. You will be in line for a promotion to manager in no time. Please enjoy the episode. Welcome to the finance leader podcast where leadership is bigger than the numbers. I am your host, Stephen McLean. This is the podcast for developing leaders and finance and accounting. Please consider following me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. My usernames and the links are in this episode's show notes. And also, please join the Facebook group I have for this podcast community. Thank you. This is episode number 88. And I'll be talking about earning that promotion to manager and I'll highlight the following topics. Number one, be of good character, strong ethics and having never quit attitude number to over deliver on results. Number three, develop the key soft skills. Number four, know how to prioritize, and five show potential for greater responsibility. Writer Arthur Goldin said a mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory. I am going to focus this episode on getting that first promotion or your first role as a manager. This is a big step, you have to be committed to preparing yourself today. Now, you have to want it and you need a plan. The basic model that I will talk about today for your promotion can be really used at any level with a few slight changes as you rise to the executive level. When you rise to that level, where you focus your time has to change how you view the organization has to change, and your skills have to be more strategic in nature. running an organization is different than running a team. But the basics are the same. Show that you can operate at the next level of responsibility and be trusted with that responsibility. I will always begin with your professional foundation, that is mindset, your education, professional certification, business acumen soft skills, your technical skills and written goals. You may not have an advanced degree or certification yet as you work on earning your first role as a manager. But we need to show your potential to manage and be responsible for more complex tasks and projects. And to be able to treat people with fairness and without bias. I have a question. Can I trust you? Can I trust you with a tough project or task and get it done on time? To a high level of excellence? Can you deliver? Can you achieve results with minimal guidance? Can I trust you to handle a project without me getting involved hours each day? Can I trust you to get the project done to requirements and give me periodic updates. And also to know when to ask for help when you really need it. All the way back in episode two of the finance leader podcast. I talked about four basic responsibilities of finance and accounting professionals. They are influencing growing others achieving results and seeing the future. And those four responsibilities. If you master them can carry you forward in your career to the highest level. You need to show potential for greater responsibility. But how do you do that in the army? That was the jargon or industry talk for getting promoted. But how do you do that? Really? There was never a real answer other than you need to be working thinking and leading at the next higher rank. Everyone's definition or perspective may be slightly different on how you show potential. It's often a judgment call. A leader must have a high level of emotional intelligence. Are you able to move on from criticism or making a mistake? Can you show genuine empathy for others? Can you solve problems keeping everyone in mind emotional intelligence is the ability to positively channel your emotions, to overcome stress, to show empathy and to resolve conflict. Your technical competence will always be required to be high. You need to know the finance and accounting fields. You need to know how to lead others in the same technical tasks that you have been doing so well all these years. You need to help drive solutions in the analysis and that will be the difference. You need to know how to effectively lead monthly close and annual budgeting, plus many other finance and accounting related requirements. Additionally, you need to know the full capabilities of the financial systems you are using. Become an expert on how to pull and validate the right data. You need to teach and guide your future team on everything related to data, and the finance and accounting systems. I will also say this, again, you will not be promoted based on your Microsoft Excel skills. So you need to expand your skills from developing the analysis or uploading journal entries to influencing others based on what your analysis is saying. You have to go beyond what you are creating in the spreadsheets to show how you can grow the business. That is why you need to shift heavily into your soft skills development. So you can communicate better, lead better and start to influence positively across the organization. There's also a great responsibility for leaders to grow other leaders, we need to be looking for our special gems who can go to the next level. And we need to be looking without bias and without favoritism on who that person can be and will be, start giving them more responsibility and be able to take a risk that they can get it done. It may not be perfect or the way you would do it. But each time your high performer gets a task and you actually trust them to get it done. They will grow and get better, their potential will grow. And they will be more ready for that next step. Now let's talk about earning that role as manager. Number one, be of good character strong ethics and having never quit attitude. I want you to set a great example for others to follow and emulate or copy. Be the person that leader that you wanted to lead you be the person who can lead but also treat the team fairly, who can also focus on development. Be a leader have good character and ethical practices, be truthful and follow through and what you said you would. And always safeguard company resources and be a good steward for what you are responsible for. Be the leader who does not quit in the face of adversity. And this is where a high emotional intelligence level will help find ways to overcome stress. So you lead the team effectively through any challenge or obstacle. Number to over deliver on results. You can't be wrong if you over deliver on your results and be early with them. But ensure they are right and go above and beyond by adding insights no one else can do. How can you help the executive team grow the business and achieve the strategy. Bring the wow factor in everything you do go above and beyond on expectations. On every task and every endeavor you take on building gain trust on everything you are asked to do. Don't leave people with any doubt about what you can do and what your commitment is. Number three, develop the key soft skills, you will always be required to be technically competent, but you need to shift to a higher level of soft skills. You need to be a leader have a vision that anyone can understand and would be willing to follow. Key soft skills will always be communications time management, emotional intelligence, collaboration, persuasion, adaptability, and creativity. I talked extensively about soft skills in Episode 12. Your soft skills are the key to greater responsibility, promotions and higher roles, not your Excel skills. Number four, know how to prioritize. We are surrounded by competing requirements all the time, we have more tasks than time and resources to get them all done. So that is why we need to prioritize better. Prioritization sets a boundary on what we can realistically get done. And you need to communicate openly about what you can get done. And what you can't know when you become overwhelmed with competing tasks. So that you can ask for help and learn to say no. Learn to communicate back to anyone who's asking you to do something that does not fit within your priorities. You should have a daily priority list things that you're going to get done now. And then that way you can communicate to anyone who's asking you to do something that doesn't really fit into the priorities for that day. Number five, show potential for greater responsibility. You need to show what you can do beyond your daily task, grind or list. Where are you at with your mindset? Can you overcome the obstacles that come at you each day and they will come? Are you actively seeking out greater responsibility and projects to grow and develop your skills? Or are you getting comfortable in your usual weekly task list? Show me you are Ready for the next level, seek out tough projects and tough assignments make a positive difference. Bring people and ideas together so the business moves forward, and you will show potential for the next hire role. What can you do today to ensure the next promotion or the opportunity to seek out a higher role? What needs to change, you are being judged on your potential and how well you help the business to grow revenue, and to improve efficiencies. Now for action today. Today, I want you to be real with yourself about how you have shown potential for greater responsibility. And to determine if there is a gap. If there is a gap. How do we start closing the gap? Take a few moments and write down how you have shown potential for your next role leading highly qualified finance and accounting professionals. Let's determine what you need to do next and different. When you seek out that next role as manager and you haven't been working in it, you're going to be asked these very same questions. How are you going to make a difference? How are you going to lead a team? What's going to be your vision? What are you going to do differently than what you have done as an individual contributor? Are you someone who has done well based on your Excel or analysis skills? There's nothing wrong with that. But we need to start going beyond your daily technical skills. Are you teaching and guiding others and what you know and how to present finance and accounting information so that you can guide senior leaders in the execution of strategy? How well are you relatable to others? Can you build a team ready to tackle tough tasks? Can you treat others fairly? Again, write out your perspective on where you are today. To close the gap. Do you need mentoring to help you overcome any areas that need improvement? Be sure to update your individual development plan and start working today toward closing any gaps. And again, when you sit down for that interview for role as manager, they're going to ask you that you can perform beyond those daily technical skills and tasks you have been doing. What are you going to do to be able to lead your team and lead your team and tough tasks and be able to help the executive team to achieve their tasks? Also, don't forget to grab my free guide for you called the leadership growth blueprint for finance and accounting managers. Are you a finance or accounting professional who is also leading people, but have questions about how to lead more effectively. I know you are expected to be the technical expert in our field. Learning leadership can set you apart from your peers, which can then lead you to more opportunities. In the free guide I talked about three leadership areas communication, team development, and empowerment. Plus a few recommendations around challenges with the financial systems you are using to complete your work. The link to this free guide is in the post or the bio. You can also go to Finance leader to download it. Please use the guy to help you with a few leadership wins today. Thank you. Today I talked about earning the first role or promotion as a manager and I highlighted the following points. Number one, be of good character, strong ethics and having never quit attitude number to over deliver on results. Number three, develop the key soft skills. Number four know how to prioritize, and five show potential for greater responsibility. managing and leading a team or even the organization as a whole is challenging. It requires a higher level of skills, a resilient mindset and an ability that goes beyond the spreadsheet. Can you build a team and a network that adds tangible value to your processes. And to you the products that help senior leaders move the business forward? Can you commit to growing the business not commit to just getting tasks done, but commit to what those tasks mean? And how they relate to revenue growth and even long term efficiencies so you are improving long term profitability. We need leaders who can develop their teams to help grow the business. Next week, I will be talking about eliminating bias in your leadership and decision making. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader podcast I'm dedicated to helping you grow your leadership skills to change your mindset and to clarify your goals so you advance your career. You can find this episode wherever you listen to podcasts. If this episode helped you today, please share it with others and please leave a quick review so that others may find the podcast. Until next time, you can check out more resources at finance leader and sign up for my weekly updates so you don't miss an episode of the show. And now go lead your team and I'll see you next time. Thank you