Hello, Georgia Learns Community!
I’m new here. I’m a Learning and Development professional with over 15 years of experience in the field. I learned about this community from Paul T. who’s my mentor in the Association for Talent Development mentoring program. If you have a few minutes, I’d like to pick your brain about people management roles. I’m preparing to transition to my first people leader role in the next year.
I'd love to hear about your experiences. Here are my questions:
I came into L&D through sales leadership. I was a Sales Director, who was asked to take on an L&D leadership position. When I admitted that I knew nothing about L&D, my boss and the head of HR said "We will send you back to school." Context: I had just graduated with a Masters in Management. I went back to school and studied Adult Learning Theory, Performance Consulting, Instructional Design (Classroom, and later e-Learning), Learning Technology, Facilitation, and Measurement and Evaluation.
I am more than happy to get on the phone or meet in person to answer your questions. I could be typing for a month to answer your questions. :)
All my best,
Dr. Michael L. Woodard
I had been in my role as an individual contributor and applied to fill my manager's position when it became open. I was not chosen and then about a year later our team grew and we split into two groups. I applied again and got selected.
I learned that no one knew I was serious about wanting to be a leader until I applied. Applying the first time put me on the "radar." Also - performing well after not being chosen the first time - and trying again made a strong impression on others. If I had not been chosen the second time - I might have had to look elsewhere and the decision makers might have thought this too
You will have to overcome not being a "proven" people manager as well as deal with the question of why would your existing employer was willing to let you leave. My advice is to be visible in leadership roles as a volunteer for a professional association (e.g., ATD) and build relationships in this role with people who might be willing to hire someone from the "outside" for their first people manager role. Their direct observation of the way you managed volunteers may overcome their hesitance. You may also use online discussion groups to find and build relationship with hiring managers by engaging in authentic conversation.