Hays UK blog


How to reach the top: advice from a young manager

By Scott Dance, Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain

Becoming a successful manager can be a daunting prospect for some, and even more so for younger professionals aiming for leadership positions. It takes a great deal of perseverance and dedication to reach the top.

Matthew Chamberlain is the most recent winner of the Young Manager of the Year Award at the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Annual Awards for Excellence, sponsored by Hays. We spoke to Matthew to find out his advice on how to succeed as a young manager.

Matthew played a key role in improving inclusiveness in the passenger transport industry by opening up employment opportunities to a wider audience. Working at Merseytravel, Matthew held the responsibility for driving a change in approach to recruitment in the sector. He helped employers to consider hiring based on the aptitude and attitude of an individual rather than the qualifications they hold.

Thanks to his dedication, enthusiasm and willingness to assist other people while maintaining the ‘customer first’ ethos, Matthew has excelled in a transport project management role which has seen over 430 new young individuals have entered the sector. In addition, his continual attendance to information, advice and guidance events and creation of associated literature means more than 23,000 young people and jobseekers now see the sector in a different and more positive light.

Speaking of his success, Jimmy Byrne, Assistant Operations Manager at Stagecoach Merseryside says, “Matt has helped to break down barriers and stereotypes with jobseekers who would otherwise never consider applying to work for us.”

Advice from Matthew’s success can be applied to anyone hoping to become a business leader themselves. Here we take a look at some of the considerations a professional working their way to the top should think about:

1. Grab opportunities as soon as they appear

Matthew has the ability to see an opportunity and follow it through. After completing university, Matthew got the break he needed to join Merseytravel following a chance meeting with the then Chief Executive of the organisation. This led to him successfully apply to become assistant freight co-ordinator. You never know when your next opportunity will appear, so when it does be sure to grab it with both hands, and who knows where you will end up.

2. Be open to criticism, and act on it

No one is perfect, and it is in your best interests to take the advice of others on board in order to improve. This is especially pertinent for younger leaders, but nevertheless an important attribute for all managers. Matthew has been able to take on constructive advice and act on it for the benefit of the projects he manages.

3. Don’t forget to be a team player

Alastair Ramsey, Head of People and Customer Development at Merseytravel, says of Matthew, “He is a fantastic team player, willing to help colleagues and partners alike with their own personal and professional development”. It was this dedication and focus on developing not only himself, but those around him too, which helped Matthew to make the change he set out to achieve. Investing time into developing your team has wide-ranging benefits, from increased productivity to improved relationships, and can, in turn, help to accelerate the change you want to take place.

Matthew has continued to display these traits and took his own advice. Late in 2017 he had an opportunity to build on his success within Merseytravel by putting his skills to use within the NHS, and he grabbed it. We wish him well in his new role as Apprenticeship Business Partner at the Wirral University Teaching Hospital.

If you are looking to progress to the next step in your career, find out how we can help by contacting your local recruitment expert.

About this author

Scott joined Hays in 2002 as a Trainee Consultant, and is now Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain. With over 15 years’ experience, Scott advises clients on workforce management solutions, works with the industry institute CIPS as a trusted knowledge partner, and provides strategic leadership to Hays’ procurement and supply chain recruitment experts.


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