Every professional must ask, "Do I really want to be a manager?" The answer is not simple, despite the query. It takes searching for answers without relying on others.
An outstanding individual contributor may want to move into management, but it may not be the greatest route to grow. Like our career choices, becoming a manager involves significant consideration. Management isn't the only option to advance, obtain a raise, or add duties.
Management is a maze with a straightforward entry that requires navigating several unknown paths. Without patience, curiosity, and the ability to learn from its particular obstacles, we can get lost, stuck, and lose hope. It needs rewiring our minds to take responsibility for ourselves and the team and providing the resources needed to achieve.
I've seen folks take on management responsibilities without much clarity, only to learn they're lousy managers. Some switch to individual contributor roles, but others stay miserable.
"Do you really want to be a manager?" Answer these six questions honestly.
Reason #1: Can't Let Go?
Do you feel fulfilled by constructing things or solving problems on your own? If you like being in the flow when solving problems and spending hours researching the problem space, the manager role may not be for you.
In his book "Your Brain At Work," David Rock quotes Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, pronounced “Cheeks-sent-me-high,” who defines flow as “when we are immersed in an experience and the time seems to stand still.”
Managers' highs come from others' successes. It demands you to limit your belief that you are the best person for the job and avoid the temptation to do it yourself. By letting the team solve problems themselves, a manager builds trust. Delegation is necessary to challenge the team with more forward-thinking tasks and inspire them to do more.
- My team needs what?
- How might support boost productivity?
It entails learning the team's everyday difficulties, transitioning from doer to supplier, and investing in team development from norming to performing.
In conclusion, you shouldn't be a manager if you can't stop learning by doing and start learning from others.
Reason #2: Love People?
Do you enjoy knowing about each team member's personality, aspirations, difficulties, histories, and experiences, or is it exhausting? Understanding that everyone is different, what inspires them, and what they need daily demands taking an interest in their life outside of work.
People and situations change. A manager that cares about their employees takes time to understand these details and connect with them. They're really curious and always asking:
- My team's mood?
- What's wrong?
- Daily challenges?
- Can people approach me?
- How can I assist them?
Managers must develop mentor-mentee relationships of accountability, responsibility, feedback, and putting others' needs first. It requires listening, discovering their deepest desires, and connecting possibilities to their goals.
As a manager, you learn that focusing on people is the best way to set up a team for long-term success. —Julie Zhuo
In conclusion, if you appreciate dealing with people but can't go beyond mentorship and general guidance to being accountable for their growth and finding satisfaction in their success, then management may not be for you.
Reason #3: Do You Like Predictability?
Managers must solve problems with several unknowns, but individual contributors do not.
Production challenges, customer complaints, people concerns, business expectations, market upheavals, technical improvements, planning, delivery schedules, and future expansion can be overwhelming. A manager must learn to use this role's expectations and pressures to grow and learn.
As a manager, working with stakeholders is the best method to manage them. It needs a willingness to learn about other functions, their obstacles, and how to trust them. Listening and understanding can make what is impractical seem sensible. One of the most interesting aspects of becoming a manager is learning to live with the delayed feedback loop that comes with the responsibility.
In conclusion, you may not want to be a manager if you prefer working in a controlled environment to making judgments based on a multitude of factors.
Reason 4: Is Conflict Scary?
What's your initial thought about workplace conflicts? Do you avoid uncomfortable conversations or use them to advance your career?
Communicating bad news to their team, sharing important decisions with stakeholders, creating the right balance of business expectations to achieve team stability, saying no to ideas that don't align with long-term goals, managing poor performance, rejecting a promotion request—the list goes on.
Conflict resolution involves open and honest communication. It requires standing up for right over wrong, even if it upsets some people in the near term. It requires questioning, repeating, and clarifying. It's hard to make yourself heard when actively listening to others.
In conclusion, you should not be a manager if you like to avoid disagreement and make others happy.
Reason #5: Always Running Late?
Everyone values time most. Numerous distractions detract from work. Time-management-challenged people jump from one activity to another without considering how it would assist them reach their goals. People who blame their busyness on not doing meaningful job never have enough time.
Management cannot use time as an excuse to ignore feedback, future planning, and hiring the right personnel.
As a manager, you must respect people's time by working toward their goals and helping them succeed. Managers should use the Eisenhower matrix to reduce, schedule, delegate, and simplify their job to give their staff more responsibility. They can balance effectiveness and efficiency by intentionally learning from the past and looking ahead.
In conclusion, you shouldn't be a manager if you're responsible for your own time but don't invest in helping others succeed.
Reason #6: Some team members earn more?
As a manager, it is essential to recognize that your compensation may not always be higher than some of your team members. This can occur due to various factors, such as the specialized skills and experience that certain team members possess, which might be in high demand in the industry. If you find yourself resenting this situation, it could be an indication that your focus is misplaced.
A successful manager should prioritize the collective success of the team and the growth of the company, rather than solely their own earnings. Embrace the value that each team member brings and remember that leadership is about fostering a collaborative and positive environment, rather than competing on a personal level.
Did You Choose Management?
Finally, take the chance to manage. The path is arduous, but seeing others progress is the most rewarding part. Celebrate this beginning. A potential manager with the appropriate approach but not all the skills is a good indicator. Work with your elders to develop these abilities in your daily work.
Assuming the role may make you feel like an imposter. Ask the same six questions and reflect on your position to be confident and genuine to yourself. Management is a responsibility beyond us—a challenge to learn, contribute, and grow the next generation who's passionate about their work and organically motivated to succeed. I hope you make the right option for yourself and others.