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7 Things To Consider Before Taking a Management Role

Friday, September 8, 2017

A woman holding a white mug with a “like a boss” print

Are you management material? Because I learned the hard way that I wasn't.

Before I dive into this topic I have to provide a bit of back story as to why I'm covering this discussion today. Understanding if you're management material or not is not a bad thing. I simply learned where my strengths lie and managing others was NOT one of them. Society has taught us that success is when you're the boss, but honestly it's not a great fit for everyone.

This post isn't to discourage anyone that is interested in progressing into this role. It's simply to bring awareness of what is likely to come.

I worked at a market research company for nearly four years and I was promoted into a supervisor role. Prior to my promotion, I was really good at what I did. Each year I had proven to my employer that I was a huge asset to their team. I was always rewarded with an increased pay or a step up in my job responsibilities.

Back then, I had this agenda that I needed to climb the ladder. I thought to be a supervisor was a clear indication of success in my career. Because come on, what sounds more badass than telling people that you're the boss?
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When I saw an opening to be promoted into a management role, I jumped on it without hesitation. I felt good being able to say that I was 27 and supervising my own team of market researchers. But not even three months into the position, I began to notice that being a manager required much more than I thought.

What is a manager exactly?

Well, my understanding was someone that supervises a variety of tasks. Someone that is in charge of particular duties and responsibilities assigned to a team. I figured I could do that. No biggie.

I'm organized. I know how to set priorities. I'm detail oriented, and I like to make sure sh** gets done. All great qualities of a manager. But now having been in the role, I assure you this only scratches the surface of what is required.

Being a manager includes being responsible for every action of your team. If someone messed up or if someone wasn't pulling their weight, all eyes are on you. As the supervisor, you're supposed to be on top of the ins and outs, ups and down of your team. I honestly assumed that because I managed a group of adults that making sure my team was doing their work wouldn't be a problem. But having to work with a variety of personalities, and learning that not everyone on my team responded the same way to direction was a hassle for me.

Not only are you a manager, you are a coach. You are solely responsible for the success of your team, and it is your job to instill a level of motivation in your team. Your team needs to feel appreciated and driven to want to work for you. For me, I couldn't provide that. Giving out constant reminders of how much a team member was needed was tiring. And for that very reason I couldn't sympathize with members of my team that did require this.

You are a problem solver of all things big or small on your team. I was all for mitigating any errors that came with the nature of our work. I could eliminate that problem with my eyes covered. But I could not solve when team members were not seeing eye to eye. I hated for Susan coming to complain about Janet and expecting me to do something about it.

Janet left work early. Janet came in later. Janet always takes a lunch break at the same time each day. Am I'm looking at her like:

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I honestly lacked the patience it required to be responsible for my team. I felt drained exerting so much energy into my team and literally putting my team's needs before my own.

So now that I've left that position, I no longer feel this urge to be the top dog. I am perfectly content with being the best at what I do without feeling this pressure that I have to be someone's boss in order to be a success.

I'm glad that I took the position because it's made me who I am today. I am a better employee now that I understand what is expected of me as an employee. But, I've learned that I prefer to be responsible for my own work. If I'm going to get fussed at, I rather it be over my own mistakes instead of one that a team member created. And that's OK. There is nothing wrong with accepting this.

So, if you're considering a management position, ask yourself these things: 

  • Do you care about the well being of others? 
  • Do you enjoy motivating others? 
  • Are you OK with being responsible for the actions of others? 
  • Are you capable of reprimanding an employee? 
  • Will you be able to remove your personal emotions within this role? 
  • Do you think bigger picture? 
  • Can you put the needs of your team before your own? 
If you can confidently answer yes to those questions, then you're in! Being a manager isn't all bad. I did enjoy those moments were our team reached a milestone or to see growth for a team member I've trained. It has its rewards, but it does come with a lot.

Management may not be for you if: 
  • You enjoy doing your own work 
  • You dislike the idea of being responsible for others 
  • You aren't a people person 
  • Aren't interested in the upbringing of others professionally 
I have had some amazing supervisors in my day, and I give much credit to them now that I know what all is required of them. I've outgrown this desire for constant competition and just accepted that I have strengths in other areas.

It's OK if you're not management material. We're not all supposed to be the boss.

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