Do You Really Want to Be a Manager?
It's flattering to be offered a management promotion. It shows the confidence your boss has in you, and the bump in your paycheck would certainly be welcome.
But before you say yes, take a deep breath and think about what it means. Not everyone wants to be a manager. Not everyone who is a manager should be one.
Being a manager comes with dramatically different responsibilities. Instead of being responsible only for yourself, as a manager you're responsible for the work of a team. You'll be dealing with different personalities and styles. You'll face pressure from your boss to meet a whole range of new measures. Besides getting projects done on deadline, there will be budget considerations and quality standards. At the same time, you'll hear from your reports about being pushed too hard or not getting the resources they insist they need.
You'll be expected to coach your team, supporting them and giving them the feedback they need and want. At times, that means delivering feedback about poor performance. As a CNN Business article points out, you have to sometimes be willing to be seen as the guy delivering bad news.
Says Leigh Steere, co-founder of research group Managing People Better, "The No. 1 task that managers shy away from is confronting poor performance.
"They may be conflict avoidant. Some say 'I'm not comfortable judging others.' Or they want to be viewed as a nice manager. [But] it is not nice to withhold feedback from somebody that they need to learn and grow."
The skills it takes to be a great manager are far different from those of being a great worker. Too often companies promote great workers because they perform at the top of the curve, only to discover that as a manager their performance is lacking at which point their rise in the organization halts -- or worse.
While management training can make a difference, too often this training is limited to legal issues and administrative procedures. Even when the training includes coaching and feedback and similar matters, it takes constant reinforcement and personal commitment to be effective.
So when the opportunity comes along, think it through. Ask managers you respect for advice. Discuss with your boss the changes you'll need to make. Then ask yourself, are you willing to give up what you do in order to manage others? Is that you?
Image by Gerd Altmann