Should I Become a Manager?

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Published 4/2/2015

If you are considering a management role, there are three questions you must ask yourself and discuss with at least one trusted advisor:

1. "Why do I want to be a manager?"

People often want to be managers because they want to:
-Tell people what to do, instead of being told what to do
-Make more money
-Solve all of those nagging problems and show everyone else the right way to do things
-Move to a nice office or more prestigious surroundings
-Become noticed
-Prepare themselves to become the next CEO

Some of these things may happen, and some are just plain myths about management. For example, new managers often find out that:
-They now have more people telling them what to do than ever before
-They may make less money
-Problems that looked like no-brainers are really way more complicated than they thought
-Increased exposure can be a double-edged sword
-People don’t always do what you tell them to do

See “7 Myths About Management.”

Becoming an effective manager often does provide a chance to:
-Have a larger impact on the organization because of the larger size of your role
-Help your employees develop new skills
-Help your employees achieve their own career goals dreams

It’s important to be honest with yourself about what your real motivations for being a manager and have a realistic understanding of what the role is and is not. Don’t go into management for all the wrong reasons. After all, some of the best employees make lousy managers.

2. "Do I have what it takes to be successful?"

Once you’re clear on your motivations, the next question is a harder one to answer – do you have what it takes to be a successful manager? That’s a hard question to answer if you’ve never been in the role, so to some extent, there’s some guess-work involved.

Read “How to Get Management Experience When You Aren’t a Manager,” and get as much experience as possible to see if you have what it takes.

We know there are certain skills and attributes that can be demonstrated in a non-managerial role, that if done well, are predictors of managerial success.

Review the list of attributes in the article “What is a “High Potential”?” and try assessing yourself against this list of criteria.

Better yet, ask your manager and others to assess you. If you’re lacking in any key areas, that’s OK – most of these things can be improved with awareness, practice, and feedback.

Other management skills are learned and mastered once in the role and with experience.

3. "What do I want to become?"

New managers often find that due to the nature of their role, they end up changing how they see themselves and how others see them. People around them may start seeing them as more:
-Aggressive
-Demanding
-Dictatorial
-Harsh
-Indecisive
-Arrogant
-Overly serious
-Guarded

Sometimes the changes are so subtle and gradual we don’t even realize we’ve changed, or we tell ourselves, “That’s just how I have to be at work – it’s not the real me.” The reality is, if you’re not careful, you can end up becoming a person you don’t want to be.

Instead, start with a vision of who you want to be as a manager – and even more important, as a leader. What’s the legacy you want to leave on your organization and others? What kind of a leader do you want to be remembered as? Who are the leaders you admire the most? This list of characteristics become your own personal leadership vision statement that you’ll use as a north star to make sure you’re not straying from who you want to be.

Do a little soul searching before you’re offered that promotion. Taking the time to ask and answer these three questions will help ensure your success as a manager and leader.