At first glance, accepting a management position can seem like a no-brainer – you have the inside track on what’s going on at the office, you get to delegate tasks and, hopefully, your paycheck gets fatter.
But before taking over that corner office, ponder these five questions about other matters that go along with assuming a higher title.
1. Do you want that much responsibility?
Leaders may get much of the glory for success, but they also get much of the blame for failure. Are you prepared to handle the stress of budgets and deadlines, to scramble to make things right when one of your charges shows up late or makes a mistake, and to be the one who must find a way to appease a fussy client or an impatient higher-up?
2. Can you handle conflict?
Pete Friedes, former CEO of the international human resource consulting firm Hewitt Associates and co-founder of Managing People Better, notes that people who end up unhappy in management often “can’t stand the conflicts inherent in managing -- confronting poor or marginal performers, putting up with all the excuses, trying to meet the various needs of the employees, insisting on excellence and dealing with bad behavior.”
If the thought of being the one who fills out performance evaluations, mediates office squabbles, and reads the riot act to underachievers makes you queasy, maybe management isn’t for you.
3. Do you prefer to work on your own?
By its nature, managing involves being around others much of the time. An introverted personality or simply a preference for focusing solely on your own work may lead to discomfort or discontent as a manager.
“Taking a management job when it isn’t a good fit with your personality will most likely result in your losing confidence in yourself and not doing a good job,” Friedes warns. “Accepting an individual role when that is a better fit will be much more likely to achieve job satisfaction and self-confidence.”
4. Are you ready to be fodder for water-cooler conversation?
Becoming “one of them” can affect how others perceive you, and redefining your office relationships to adjust to the new social structure can be difficult.
“When people take a management job, they are really changing careers. But they don’t realize this,” says Alan Vengel, a consultant on workplace issues and author of Twenty Minutes to a Top Performer and The Influence Edge. “All the relationships they’ve had with their colleagues will now be changed. Management considers them part of management and on the management team. Colleagues consider them part of management and no longer part of their team. So, the people you’ve been having lunch with, drinking your coffee with, complaining about the boss with, are no longer accessible to you. You really lose a support group. People look at you and treat you differently.”
5. How would the new position change your life on whole?
Lastly, take to heart Vengel’s notion of moving up to management as being a career change. Are you ready for it? How might longer hours, additional stress, and perhaps the need to travel for work affect your family and personal life? Just as if you were considering a new job at a different company, weigh the pros and cons of the management position to see if it is the right move for you.
Did you accept a management job? Check out these tips for first time managers.