CXO

So you want to be a manager

Management seems to be the Holy Grail of the working world. But many people want the mantle for all the wrong reasons.

There is a scourge running rampant in the working world. It's called "I want to be a manager" syndrome.

This is the desire on an employee's part of wanting a "manager" title above all else. It's not a desire to lead a team to great things, mind you, it's a desire to bear the manager label. Somehow these people just feel too special to be among the rank and file, despite not having any leadership skills to speak of. They're convinced that the world just can't wait for their ideas, even though they have no earthly idea how to turn those ideas into practical results.

Here's a news flash: General brilliance does not necessarily qualify you to lead people — leadership skills do. You may be the best developer in the world, or you may be able to diagnose any network problem in three minutes flat, but that does not automatically make you a good candidate for a manager. That's like saying "I play a mean cello, so I should conduct theĀ entire orchestra." These are two different skill sets.

The Manager tag should not be your goal. It is not something by which to measure your personal worth. It's a responsibility, and it's a lot of work. It's also very unfair to team members to take on their management if you don't really know how to do it.

If you think you deserve to be in management, ask yourself these questions:

  • Could you lay off an employee that you like very much because upper management needs to make cuts?
  • Could you confidently promote one of your employees above others?
  • Would you be able to tell an employee he or she needs to attend to his or her hygiene better?
  • Can you lead a team to results without micromanaging?
  • Could you say "no" to upper management when they make unreasonable demands of your staff?
  • Could you take responsibility for failures of your team even if only one staffer screwed up?

Those are the kinds of things you're going to have to deal with in management. Thnk about it before you take the leap.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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