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Articles and Advice

 Are You the Management Type?

By Joe Stein

For many people working as an individual contributor, going into a management position is the ultimate career goal.  It can be seen as a natural progression to become a leader in the organization.  This is especially true if you are very good at your current position.

There are a variety of reasons why a person may want to get into Management.  Some of these are built on certain perceptions that may have been developed without fully evaluating all possible variables.  Let’s do this examination now:

• Money – Yes, you usually make more money in a Management role. However, once you factor in the loss of overtime, the number may not be as large as you may believe.  Before accepting any offer to go into Management, understand your total annual compensation (rate, overtime, and incentives) in order to compare with the offer.
• Hours Worked – Management will often work longer hours, sometimes in ways you can’t see (such as taking work home on weekends, or accepting weeknight phone calls).  This can be especially challenging for new leaders, since you won’t receive additional compensation for this time (it is built into your salary).
• Status – This used to be a much larger factor than it is today, as the days of “directing” people to do things is almost gone.  Leadership now is all about “motivating” and “coaxing” people to do activities that you may have completed without a 2nd thought.
• The Work – Do you like what you are doing?  Your current activities may range from caring for people, making something, or directly interacting with customers/clients.  When you slide into a Management role you usually spend less (often a lot less) time on these types of tasks and more on scheduling, coaching, budgeting, etc. 
• Spotlight – While this may be good when things are going well, but if you have a “bump in the road”, all eyes will be on you.  Now, rather than being one cog in the wheel, your name is attached to everything.  This certainly can add to your stress level and may even reduce your job security.
• Frustration – A person will usually be considered for a role in Management because you are good at what you do.  Unfortunately, you will most likely be managing people who are not as good at the job as you would have been.  As a leader, you need to continue to train, coach, and not let the inadequacies of your employees impact you.

A Management role also provides some great rewards and opportunities to a person.  Below is a brief rundown regarding some of the real positive aspects of being in Management.

• Compensation Ceiling – Generally, the ceiling for your compensation is much higher in Management compared with staying in an Individual Contributor role. In order to climb the ladder, you have to start somewhere…with your first Management role.
• Scope of Influence – If you are someone who has lots of good ideas, then Management gives you a better opportunity to get these implemented.  As you know, everything has an approval process.  Now though, you have a direct line to do something or a better way to influence others.  You can also potentially touch a variety of activities within your area rather than a specific task.  This variety can certainly make the work day substantially less monotonous than performing one singular activity.
• Coaching – If you get personal satisfaction out of the success of others, then Management may be for you.  The ability to coach and mentor someone who is a good pupil can be extremely satisfying.
• Accountable for Success – Earlier, I wrote how the spotlight will be on you, which (for many) is a good thing.  They want to “own” it and receive the recognition that comes from being successful.  The hours that will be necessary is an acceptable tradeoff for the positive end result.  If this is you, then Management could be a good career option.
• The Title – It may seem rather shallow, but titles can matter to people.  If you are a Supervisor, Manager, etc. you may feel differently about yourself and may even get a different reaction from others when you are talking work in a social setting.

Being in Management (despite how it may look from your current perspective) is not an easy position to be in.  In fact, I believe the toughest career progression a person can make is to go from a non-leader to your first supervisory position, especially if it is a result of an internal promotion.  Before you decide it is right for you, please be sure to thoroughly examine why you want this type of position and whether it delivers what you are seeking.

As always, best of luck in your job search.