It’s remarkable how many people are accidental managers. These are people who became managers because they happened to be around when there was a need to put a manager in place. There just as many others who choose to become managers because of dreams of how it “should” be or pressure from family and friends. Whether the opportunity is accidental or intentional, take a moment and ask yourself: “Should I become a manager?”
Without being a manager, do you take or avoid opportunities to lead a team?
Even without being a manager, you have likely had opportunities to lead meetings, head up initiatives or coordinate work. If you tend to take those opportunities, the next step into management will be more natural. If not, you may want to practice those things before getting promoted.
What is your motivation for becoming a manager?
Be honest with yourself. Really honest. If the answer is anything other than wanting to help your team and helping the business, you should take a deeper look at your motivations. Management is about leading people in alignment with business objectives. If doing that is not in your motivations, you will find being a manager very difficult.
Are you interested enough in management and leadership to keep learning about it?
You will not learn management and leadership skills in one course or by reading a book or two. Changing your career to management is the start of a journey of lifelong learning about new ways to motivate people, to improve your communication, to coach, to negotiate. The list goes on and on. A career in management is a career in continuous self-improvement. Are you interested enough to do that?
Are you able to handle challenging relationships?
Every team has at least one difficult personality. People on your team will challenge you and your actions. As their manager, you will need to challenge the team and keep them honest. Your peers may challenge or criticize your decisions, especially if it affects their departments. If you thought your managers challenged you before, wait until you are a manager. Are you able to handle and navigate through all of this? With all of this challenging going on, will you still find some fun in your job?
If you have a hard time answering these questions, you may not be ready for management just yet. It’s okay if that is the case. The best advice I ever received from one of my best managers was that we should only go into management once we’re really done being individual contributors. So, if you are still enjoying what you do, keep doing it. You can keep practicing and developing your leadership skills so that you will be ready to take the management opportunity when it presents itself. Even if it is accidental.
If you are a manager, what are the questions you asked yourself before accepting your first management position? How would you have answered the above questions?
- The Rewards Of Being A Manager
- The Truth: Challenges Of Being A Manager
- Learning From Good And Bad Managers Of My Past
- Management: a rant (mdzlog.alcor.net)
- The Top 6 Ways Managers Demotivate Employees (quickbase.intuit.com)
- How To Manage Employees Who Are Older Than You (businessinsider.com)
- The Accidental Manager (suecowley.wordpress.com)