You like leading people, you’re a team player, and you’ve consistently heard from others that you’d be a great manager. But is that really what you want? Are you prepared for the responsibilities that accompany the role of manager? Do you think you can withstand the pressures associated with management? Are you willing to take risks that could adversely affect your career?
These kinds of questions never end, nor should they. Asking questions forces you to think through critical situations. Before you decide if a career in management is right for you, ask yourself the following questions. Don’t rush your answers, and don’t be afraid of what you might find out. Even if you decide that management isn’t for you, you might determine that it could be right at another time.
Can you embrace the concept of “career self-management”?
Lifelong employment anywhere is unlikely, which is why you must take responsibility for your own career. Are you willing to do that? Do you have the energy it takes — and the creativity — to identify your skills and abilities and channel them into current and future opportunities?
Are you committed to continuing your education?
Your company can support your development as a manager, but you should take the lead. In addition to finding resources, you must obviously make the commitment to spend time learning. Do you have the time? Are you willing to make the time? Will your company help pay for your professional development?
How well do you handle difficult situations and conflict?
So you’re a “people person,” but that’s not enough when it comes to handling dicey situations on the job. Being a manager can be exhilarating and profoundly fulfilling, but it can also be a pain in the neck. Can you separate your personal views about people from how they might conduct themselves on the job? Being able to make that distinction is a critical and necessary skill when, as a manager, you must reprimand or even terminate an employee. Can you deconstruct a difficult situation so that you can identify what needs improvement?
Do you set goals?
A career in management usually involves a plan, a road map for setting and achieving goals. If you’re not accustomed to creating opportunities for yourself, then management could be the wrong choice. In addition to managing others, you must work with your superiors on your own career. Without goals, you can’t change — and if you can’t change, you won’t grow. And without growth, a successful career in management is practically impossible.
Can you handle being unpopular?
Being a manager sometimes means taking positions that are unpopular with your staff. You may not even personally agree with them yourself. However, you must keep overall company goals and objectives as your number one priority, despite any potential impact on certain members of your group. It’s not easy to change your perspective to think and act that way, but it is essential to effective management.
Can you deal with a variety of personalities?
Many managers will tell you that the hardest part of their jobs is handling so many different personalities. In addition to making sure various jobs get done, a manager must juggle traits and quirks that, while annoying, must still be dealt with.
Can you be responsible for the work of others?
You may be very good at what you do and very confident in your capability. However, being a manager also means being responsible for others’ output. This takes patience, communication skills, insight, and the ability to anticipate and resolve problems. These skills can be developed if you’re willing.
Encouraging people to be themselves is one thing; creating a work environment that can accommodate conflicting personalities is another. On some days, peace and harmony may reign. On others, however, you might think you’re running a daycare center with children running and screaming in all directions. What’s most important, though, is not what kind of day it is, but whether you can successfully assume responsibility for the work of these different personalities, and raise the level of their skills and effectiveness.