Home Goals Want to Get Promoted Into a Leadership Role? A New Study Explores How Current Managers Got There

Want to Get Promoted Into a Leadership Role? A New Study Explores How Current Managers Got There

by Ivan
Want to Get Promoted Into a Leadership Role? A New Study Explores How Current Managers Got There Ivan Ocampo

Here’s what your promotion to leadership journey may look like, according to high-level leaders.

There are many tips and tricks from people in leadership positions who’ve climbed the career ladder to help other leaders continue their growth, but are there specific ways to ensure growth occurs? When it comes to getting that big promotion, are there actionable steps that work

In a new study, team improvement software developer Nulab surveyed 1,003 workers who identified as managers, supervisors, directors, or executive management to discover their path to leadership and their perceptions of workplace growth.

The data explores whether leadership is a skill or trait, what a promotion journey can look like, and what existing managers believed most contributed to their success. Here are some of the findings.

Leadership is a skill, not a trait

Can leadership be taught? According to the data from the survey of today’s leaders, the answer is yes. Approximately 71 percent of managers believe leadership is a skill, not a trait. Men (73 percent) were more likely to believe this sentiment than women (69 percent). But one in three women felt like leadership was a trait, compared to just 27 percent of men.

Generation X (33 percent) was more inclined to think that leadership was something you were born with, compared to Baby Boomers (32 percent) and Millennials (26 percent). Millennials were the generation most likely to feel that leadership is something that can be learned. 

Promotions into leadership mostly come from within

On average, respondents earned their first leadership role by age 25. Nearly three in five supervisors were promoted to their new position, but 41 percent pursued their leadership role.

Most (63 percent) of the people surveyed were promoted internally and were with their company for three years before earning their new position. Only 37 percent said they started fresh at a new company with their leadership role.

Millennials (66 percent) were most likely to earn their leadership position through internal promotion. But Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers were equally as likely (59 percent) to secure their spot in the same manner.

The study also revealed that while men (60 percent) were more likely than women (58 percent) to get promotions, women asked or applied for their role slightly more frequently than men.

Women leaders earn less

On average, women leaders who earned promotions within their company received nearly $1,200 less than their male counterparts. The annual raise received when men were promoted was $9,070, compared to just $7,899 for women.

Four out of five managers were offered a pay increase with their elevated work status, but 18 percent had to ask for more money. Furthermore, 3 percent of people earned a promotion but did not receive more money in the process.

Compared to 14 percent of Generation X, 20 percent of Millennials had to ask for a raise when promoted. However, the offered pay increases were more lucrative, averaging more than $8,700, compared to around $7,400 among those who had to ask.

Attitude matters

There are many reasons why managers get promoted within their company, but, according to the survey, their attitude (65 percent) helped the most. Leadership skills (61 percent), the ability to work well with others (58 percent), and relevant experience (55 percent) followed close behind. Other features that earned leaders their promotions were taking on additional work, their innovation skills, and the additional training they received.

Typically, when genders were compared, only a few percentage points existed between men and women for all the categories as to the specific reason they got their promotion. The most significant difference between the two was that women were 10 percentage points more likely to claim their raise was because they work well with others. Men were 7 percentage points more likely to say their innovation helped them get their leadership role.

Management training should be required

Eighty-six percent of leaders who were promoted and received management training said it should be required.

During the promotion process, 65 percent of managers polled were required to take management training. Only 14 percent of those who received management training felt the instruction should not be necessary. Of the managers who did not receive training, the decision was split. Half wanted to receive training, and half did not feel it should be required.

Rising even higher in a company can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. From those who have been there, it seems like having a positive attitude, working hard, and working well with others are the stepping stones to success.

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