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Top 5 tips that every management trainee must use

Management trainees are in a wonderful place called ‘No Man’s Land’ when they are recruited in organizations. This is where all the trainees are at par and are equals – whether they are IIM-A graduates or products of not so famous self financed MBA colleges.
Wall Street Journal correctly observes that the performance of management trainees once they are recruited is a crucial determinant for how the rest of their career will shape up rather than what pedigree they are. So why not take advantage of being an equal and setting up a great foundation for the rest of your career?
Here are tips that you as a management trainee must use to make a great first impression.

Do more than what you are given

The singular aim of management trainees should be to impress upon superiors or managers their zeal to learn and their ability to be moulded. Think about what’s going on in your manager’s mind – Is he/she flexible? Will he/she learn what I teach without unnecessary questioning? Does he/she have a problem solving attitude? Can I give him/her more work on a certain day and not get any whining? Put yourself in the shoes of your manager and try to be the answer to every question your manager may have. If your manager asks you to come up with a list of potential competitors for the company’s new product, come up with something more – like the histories of how those competitors have used market penetration strategies in the past. Not only is this a sure shot way to impress your manager but also to learn stuff that you’ve haven’t in your MBA textbooks!

Ditch your ego

Did your MBA textbook teach you a concept that is being practiced exactly the opposite way at your workplace? Well, get used to it and accept the fact that learning is actually about un-learning and re-learning what you’ve already learnt! Your management textbooks may have taught you that the in the model of Porter’s Five Forces, if the barriers to entry are low, competition is bound to be high. But you may be a part of an industry which may behave otherwise! Ditch your know-it-all attitude about what you’ve learnt in your classes and observe and assimilate from your environment. Why do you think most senior executives start saturating so soon? That’s because they lose their fresh set of eyes and become rigid enough to not accept their mistakes.

Don’t wait for the ‘big break’

Most management trainees wait for some kind of fictitious ‘big break’ where they will be given leadership of a certain project which they will be able to handle in their own way. Not only is that a distant dream but also a wrong learning attitude on the part of the trainee. Treat your recruitment itself as big break and see the learning happening in smaller daily tasks and errands rather than waiting for that big project which may never come. Wall Street Journal India aptly stats that management trainees can gain a ton of skills only by observing people. See how your manager handles a pesky customer, observe how a senior colleague deals with a tough client, manages teams and so on.

Show your individuality

If you have been recruited as a management trainee through campus placement, it is most likely that there may a bunch of you who have entered the organization together. Then comes the question of what you are going to do to distinguish yourself from others. No, you need to accomplish herculean tasks. It’s the small things that will make a difference. Believe it or not, things like knowing how much sugar your manager likes in his/her coffee to setting the correct air conditioning temperature before the team meeting starts will not only be noticed but will also distinguish you in the eyes of your manager. This is not to say that such menial tasks and errands are the only ways in which you can bring yourself to the forefront. Questioning a certain strategy that your manager has devised or being curious about client histories and talking about them with your manager will earn you significant brownie points, displaying your individuality and interests.

Be a listener

While showing your individuality is something that we just discussed, it remains obvious that you need to show restraint there and play that card with much care. Management trainees are in a phase of learning which means that they have to utilize their ability of listening to the fullest. Doing a Porter’s Five, SWOT Analysis, finding out the NPV and charting out recommendations for each investment project may be the routine channel that management trainees are taught to follow in management academia. But giving unnecessary suggestions and recommendations that may have already been discounted by senior management without your knowledge will make you look like a fool. As a management trainee, back off where you sense that you’re not being involved in decision making and contribute your two bits when the forum is thrown open for ideas. Keep your eyes and ears open.
This entry was posted in Career, career streams, Education, jobs and tagged internship, Managament, Management trainee, Top tips, trainee.

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