Employee Growth Beyond Traditional Managerial Roles

Jessamy Amic

Posted: September 6, 2023

Table of Contents

You’ve worked hard, are good at your job, and have reached the day when you have a choice to make: to be or not to be a manager. If you choose not to become a manager, don’t think that it shows a lack of ambition or shuts the door to future career advancement. 

Managerial positions have long been seen as the primary pathway to a leadership position, but joining the ranks of management is not only not a step up into leadership; it’s a step sideways, and there are many other ways to be empowered and promoted. 

The most important of these is exploring diverse career paths and taking a skill-based approach that will help you become an impactful leader who leads others through innovation, mentorship, and expertise.

Management vs leadership

Managers pursue goals through coordinated actions to reach a predetermined outcome. They follow the leader’s vision, execute ideas, and manage people and processes. 

Leaders, on the other hand, are focused on setting goals, finding ways to influence and align those who work for them; creating an environment where people and their talents can flourish. And they’re in big demand. In today’s work environment, a premium has been placed on speed, flexibility, and the ability to lead in ambiguous situations. At the same time, the flattening of organisations has created a huge demand for leadership skills at every level.

Leadership (including self-leadership and self-management) is an in-demand power skill, but it’s a quality that needs to be shaped. Through skills-based courses, professionals at all levels can develop communication skills and emotional intelligence and learn how to influence others while building greater self-awareness and understanding of how to bring out the best in themselves and others.

Alternative paths to leadership

Here are some alternative methods of promotion and career development that highlight the benefits of diverse career paths in becoming an impactful leader:

Lateral promotion

Lateral promotions involve moving employees to positions of similar rank but with increased responsibility and challenges. This encourages employees to focus on skill development and mastery within their domain while still advancing in their careers.

Horizontal promotion

Horizontal promotions allow employees to move across different departments or teams, and this exposes them to different aspects of the business, broadens their skill set, and fosters a deeper understanding of the company’s operations. It promotes cross-functional collaboration, diversity of thought, and innovative problem-solving.

Skill-based promotion

In this approach, promotions are based on acquiring specific skills – such as picking up a foreign language so you can help clients in another country or becoming proficient in a new programming language – rather than solely on seniority. Employees can advance in their careers by completing training programmes, obtaining certifications, or demonstrating proficiency in critical competencies.

Benefits of diverse career paths

By empowering employees to explore diverse career paths and become leaders in their domain, company executives establish a pool of employees, each with a unique set of skills. These include adaptability, communication, expertise, and innovation – skills that enable individuals to guide and support teams effectively. This leads to:

  • Increased employee engagement
  • Enhanced collaboration
  • Improved innovation
  • Better problem-solving
  • Reduced skill gaps
  • Talent retention

Empower your employees with MasterStart

People often get promoted into leadership roles because their technical or functional skills and expertise enable them to perform well in their domain. But that doesn’t always translate into effective leadership, and they struggle to inspire, coach, co-create, and build commitment to a shared vision.

Ensure your business doesn’t fall short of filling this gap by providing the training and coaching needed to develop all your key employees into skilled leaders. Browse our Management and Leadership online short courses designed to develop key power skills needed to lead others and unlock personal development.

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