- I excelled in my previous, non-management role.
- It’s the next step in my career path, which means I get a promotion.
- It’s more money.
- It gives me higher status.
- I’m owed the positions because I had the most experience.
Do any of these ring true for you? Other than “I’m owed,” these are all valid reasons to consider a management position. But you owe it to yourself and your potential direct reports to dig deeper into your motivations.
Some Very Capable Employees Don’t Really Want to Manage Others
There are actually some employees who seem like they might have the abilities and characteristics to be good managers, but who have that rare ability to know themselves well. They understand how difficult it can be to be a good manager, including the extra hours. They will opt out when someone suggests that they move into management.
Being a Manager is Hard. Being a Good Manager is REALLY Hard.
It is really hard to be an effective manager. It is estimated that 60% of managers fail in the first two years. Some of the obstacles that stand in the way include:
- Managing employees uses a different skill set than being an individual contributor. The skills that enabled you to succeed as an employee won’t necessarily make you successful as a manager. In fact, they may get in the way. The hard-charging sales person may find that approach completely backfires when she has to manager other sales employees.
- Being a good manager requires a more varied skill set than a non-manager role. This includes “soft,” relationship skills and analytical, business skills. This is a tricky combination of abilities. Do you possess some of both?
- Your employees aren’t a direct extension of you. You don’t control them. You have to influence your employees in order to achieve results through them. Can you influence others effectively?
- You have to create an environment where employees are motivated to do good work for your team and the company. What is the current environment in the organization and can you make it better for employees?
- You may face a lack of support from your company. If your management team doesn’t value good management practices and doesn’t provide management training, you may feel like you are on an island, isolated and unequipped for your role.
- You may be saddled with an ineffective team. It can be difficult to get poor performing employees off your team and good employees on board.
- You may be overwhelmed by your workload. This is especially true if you don’t quite know how to effectively delegate and give up the tasks from your previous role. Can you quickly stop “doing” and start delegating?
Advice If You Are Considering a Management Role
There are several steps you can take to see if management is right for you before you make the leap.
- First, take on responsibilities that allow you to indirectly manage employees, or a group of employees, without actually becoming their manager. Volunteer to lead a project or an initiative for your company. That way you can test-drive being a manager. Another thing you can do, when it’s appropriate, is to sit in for your manager while she is on vacation. You can take on some of her responsibilities but not her entire role.
- Find a mentor who is currently a successful manager. Find out what she likes and doesn’t like about being a manager, and the path she took to become a successful manager. If you do become a manager, try to maintain that relationship with your mentor to get their on-going perspective and advice.
- Take advantage of management training if at all possible. Your company may provide training. Also, there are programs that are available at community colleges and on-line that will help prepare you.
I don’t want to turn you away from being a manager. I just want you to go in with your eyes wide open, not just focused on the promotion, the money and the other tempting perks of being a manager.
Sometimes, it helps to talk with someone outside your company. We offer coaching for managers and individual contributors who are considering management. Contact us to learn more about how we can help!