Manager in Africa – Management theories have changed since Frederick Winslow Taylor’s work on « The Principles of Scientific Management ». He based his work on the fact that having people work hard was not as useful as maximizing the way the work is done. This theory represents the foundation of our comprehension of management practices just like all the theories that were elaborated in the 1900s around the subject. According to Peter Drucker Management is “to make people capable of joint performance through common goals, common values, the right structure, and the training and development they need to perform and to respond to change”. A manager is therefore someone who is in charge of an efficient coordination of team work in order to reach common goals. When most of the time the concept of Manager is used to talk about a person that has years of experiences, accumulating years of work only, does not make you a Manager.

We are not Manager at birth, we become it. Becoming a Manager in Africa is an excellent way to grow a career and to show managing skills in working with many people in order to maximize the profit of the company. After some people spend years working as a specialist or a technician in a particular job, they aspire to have more responsibilities and obviously make more money. In order to do that you will not only need to acquire the expected skills of a Manager in Africa, but also prove that you have what it takes to have a promotion. Here are some steps you could take to become a Manager in the company you are working in:

  1. Share you aspirations and personal performances– It is about having a discussion with you supervisor about what you want, what stimulates you. Be organised and let you superior know about your performances, your aspirations, and the things you do to advance your career. Most of the time, your supervisor is focused on his own career and doesn’t have your best interest in mind. It is therefore important to remind him of them and further you arguments with real performances, goals achieved under exceptional circumstances. Your ambition is yours and you are primarily responsible of the advancement of your career.

  1. Improve your skills– Indeed, you cannot be a Manager if you don’t know about the work of a Manager in a daily basis. Having more responsibilities also means having more authority, being more independent, having more demands and less free time. You need to re-evaluate your present skills, identify the skills that you do not have, and be able to seize all the opportunities you could get that would allow you to strengthen your managing skills, to better prepare to be a Manager.
  2. Re-evaluate yourself constantly- an evaluation is not only an end of the year evaluation where your performance is judged based on the goals you reached. You can ask for frequent feedbacks from your supervisor or your teammate. This type of evaluation will allow you to adjust constantly and to spot the areas that need improvement. It is not a bad thing to ask for feedbacks after a PowerPoint presentation or after a crisis meeting that you presided. Feedbacks from your colleagues will be very useful to improve your performances. Moreover, you will show your co-workers that you appreciate their feedbacks and that all their opinions matter to you, and that is something that every Manager should look for.
  3. Become a mentor/ Find yourself a mentor- sharing your skills and experiences with other people is not only a good way to improve the quality of relationship you have with them but also a way to show them your skills. Seize any opportunity you will have to become a mentor, and learn to share what you know. You can also find a mentor. Someone who has been in the job field longer than you and that can guide you in your career and prepare you for more responsibilities.

If you are under the impression that you career is stagnating and that becoming a manager is the only option for you to grow, then follow the steps below. Stay focused on your goals and make sure that you are surrounded by good people.

Luc Herve ZOK