Having ambition is wonderful for your career, but only if you have the skills to back it up.
Before applying for that promotion to a management position, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Ask yourself whether you’re ready for the changes and challenges of being a manager.
Over the course of my career as a business leader, I witnessed newly-promoted managers struggling with the same five problems. Before you throw your hat into the ring for a management position, ask yourself these five key questions:
1. What’s Your Motivation for Becoming a Manager?
Do you really aspire to manage others? Many people are motivated by the title rather than the real responsibility. Some employees are excited about the money and prestige of management, but not the hard work that goes along with that bigger paycheck.
Wanting to be a manager means leading others. You’ll have to help and guide them, as well as listen to their woes. Management is only for those who like learning new roles and growing into increased responsibility. Do those traits describe you?
2. Are You Afraid of Conflict?
In my career, I saw a lot of associates who were promoted to manager but weren’t effective because they were frightened by conflict and didn’t know how to handle it.
When you’re a manager, conflict can arise in many forms. As manager, you’re now in the middle. You manage down and report up. There is often opposing tension between the two sides, and it’s your job to deal with it and diffuse it.
Additionally, you may experience drama within the team you manage as individuals have differences of opinions or even outright arguments. You’ll be responsible for resolving those conflicts and building cooperation among your team members so they can work together effectively.
3. Are You Good at Motivating Others?
You might be highly motivated yourself, but to manage and motivate multiple employees with different personalities is a skill to be acquired. You’ll need to dig deep and be flexible in order to inspire your entire team.
One of the tactics I found to be effective for about 90% of the people I managed was to be transparent about what was going on in the company, like sales goals, and how we’re tracking performance. Transparency might also look like keeping your team abreast of company initiatives. Happy employees are ones who feel they have skin in the game while being a part of the journey.
Can you see yourself being honest and upfront with the people you would manage to provide this kind of transparency?
4. Are You Fair-Minded?
Understanding how to establish a culture of fairness is a vital skill for a manager.
Bias clouds your judgement. To get the job done and keep your team on task, you really have to be objective and focused on outcomes, not personalities. Playing favorites will create disloyalty and destroy your team’s motivation.
Would you be able to keep an open mind and listen to all sides and perspectives?
5. Are You Good at Delegating?
A manager has to have the ability to delegate. In my own career, letting go of my day-to-day work was the hardest part of starting to advance. I enjoyed the work I did, and it was sad not to be in the trenches. It was hard to let others perform the tasks in different ways than I had, and it was hard to trust they would succeed without all my knowledge or experience.
But if I hadn’t delegated — if I had insisted on doing the work myself or micromanaging — I wouldn’t have been able to lead my team. In addition, they would have been unfulfilled and resentful of my lack of trust.
Delegation is a sign of true leadership and the hardest behavior to obtain if it doesn’t come to you naturally. Can you see yourself effectively delegating tasks?
Are You Ready to Be Manager?
Taking on a management role is empowering and deeply satisfying, but only when you’re ready for it.
You’ll need to be ready for the challenges that go along with management in order to get the promotion you’ve been dreaming of and thrive in your new position.
If you know you’re ready to take the next step in your career and move toward management, but you need some support in any of these five areas, I can help. I’m a career coach who loves helping young professionals develop effective skills for leadership roles.
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Photo by Brooke Lark, Unsplash