Am I Manager Material?

You’re thinking about applying for a promotion, or perhaps have just been offered one, but just aren’t sure if you want to take the step into managing people…  Congratulations! I applaud you for taking this decision seriously.  Being a manager (or supervisor or team lead, etc) is more than just doing your current job even better.  Being a manager means you’re signing up for a totally different type of job.  So how do you know if it’s a job you truly want?  Read on for some help in the soul searching portion of your journey.

You’re not in Kansas anymore

Being a manager typically means the day to day work you’re used to will no longer exist.  Be ready for your “regular” work to disappear.  Your day will now be filled with answering questions, creating and giving trainings, making decisions, and removing roadblocks.  For first time managers, this can be a huge shock if they’re not expecting it.  Be prepared to be measured on how your team performs rather than how you perform.  Their failures are your failures; their successes are your successes.

Expectations are HUGE

Now that you’re responsible for a group of people’s work, you need to ensure expectations are clear.  This means working with your management team to understand any goals they have for the team’s performance.  Then you need to break this into achievable chunks and set these to the team.  Because you’re responsible for a group, you have to be extremely clear with them about what they should be accomplishing.  Without a clear message, it is impossible for anyone to meet expectations.

This is the first question to ask yourself when your team appears to be falling short of the mark: Did I clearly outline where we need to be and how to get there?

If you are unable to outline expectations, make sure that you understand what they are.  There’s no shame in asking questions.  This is the only way to ensure your team, and ultimately you, are successful with your organization.

People, People, People

Your life is now interacting with people.  People you see almost every day.  People who will remember the past conversations you’ve had.  People who talk with each other on those conversations with you.  Although you’re dealing with people almost constantly, your job may feel very lonely.  Because you’re interacting with people that interact with each other, you need to be on guard and professional at all times.  That frustrating conversation you just had? You can’t vent to your desk-mate anymore because they can share that with their peer.  The constructive feedback you’re nervous about providing?  You can’t chat with your work friend because they may tell someone else.  This is an immediate transition that isn’t always obvious when taking on leadership for the first time.  Be conscious of this decision, this is a permanent change when you move into management.

Wow, this was a LOT of information to think about, so let’s recap… What do I need to think about when deciding if management is for me?

  • Am I ok being lonely because I can no longer share my frustrations with team members?
  • Am I ready to ask lots of questions so I can communicate expectations clearly to a group that depends on me?
  • Am I able to delegate work appropriately?
  • Am I ready to see the big picture, like roadblocks further down the road, rather than only the next step in the process?
  • Am I confident to work with other managers to find solutions that remove roadblocks?

If the answer is ever no, there’s no shame in not wanting to move into management.  There are plenty of career opportunities that do not necessarily involve managing others.  Taking the time to really think about if this career path is for you, shows a level of maturity you should be proud of.  Deciding you have other career goals is exciting, so congrats on taking the next step in achieving great things!  Deciding management is for you, so congrats on taking the next step in achieving great things!

What other things should we consider when moving into managing others?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!



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