Are You Ready For Management?

Most of us, during some point in our career will face the opportunity to move into a management role. Making the steps up into a management position may not appeal to everyone, but for those who embrace this step, it is an important professional milestone. Before you embark into a leadership position or rush to accept a promotion you've been offered from your employer, you should spend some time to reflect on your own set of desires, strengths, weaknesses, and skills to evaluate whether you're truly ready, or even desire to take on the added responsibility that comes with a management role.

To help you with this important decision, answer the following descriptions below. You're likely ready to move into management if you can answer yes to most of these descriptions:

1) You Know Your Role, Inside and Out

It is important that you understand the work of the people you will be leading. It is crucial that you understand their motivation, goals, challenges and difficulties (pain points) first hand. Armed with this knowledge, you can provide valuable direction and feedback that will enable their success. Before you are able to lead a team and make sure your team is properly executing all tasks and responsibilities, you have to know the in and outs of their roles.It would have been ideal if you had years of direct experience in the similar or same positions(s).

2) You Want The Responsibility

Management is not for everyone. The responsibility to care, lead and be responsible for the people who work with you is not to be taken lightly.

Although it may seem like a no-brainer, do you truly want to take on a leadership role and all that entails? Is this move into management, something you consider as simply a step up, or the inevitable next step in your career? Perhaps you’ve been offered a promotion and can’t imagine saying “no” to a better job title or a higher salary? Before you say “yes” to management, think honestly about what’s motivating you and the type of responsibility and career path you want. Not everyone is well-suited for management, and it’s better to be self-aware enough to know you wouldn’t thrive in the role than feel duty-bound to accept a position that you may end up hating, or worse, ruining the lives of the people whom your decisions effect.

3) You’re Ready To Let Go

A good manager is not the one who does all of the work, but is one who can delegate the work to the right people so that the work gets done well, on time and within or below the time and budget allocated.

This means that while a part of your position will likely entail delegating and tracking the performance and progress of your team, you also need to be able to let go of some of your own low-priority responsibilities or tasks and give your team the tools, resources, and support they need to carry them out. The best managers and leaders know they don’t need to “own” or control every project or task but instead are smart about empowering their subordinates and arming them with all they need to execute and succeed.

4) You’re A Good Communicator

It is important that a good manager is a person who is able to be able to effectively and clearly communicate expectations regardless of whether you're managing a team consisting of one or one hundred. Regardless of the size of the team that you're managing, the communications skills required to set clear expectations and give honest feedback are the same. In order to be successful in this leadership role, you have to clearly communicate goals and KPIs, provide regular positive feedback (not just negative), and understand how to communicate your team’s or department’s accomplishments and challenges to your own bosses or company leadership.

5) You Consult With Others

The best managers understand that they don't know everything and are open and eager to solicit great ideas from wherever they come, whether that's your team or otherwise. They realize that they're not the only one who can solve a problem or the only source with great ideas for their department. If you aren't able to ask for help and are willing to accept that you can listen and learn from other sources outside of yourself, then you're probably not ready to coach others.

6) You Want Other People To Succeed

The best leaders are quick and ready to give support and credit to others where it's due. They are focused on supporting and empowering their team members, colleagues and those who report directly to them, to reach their goals. Good leaders and managers genuinely want their organization to be successful, and that means unselfishingly providing time and giving their support where it may be needed for the good of the company. As a manager you should be prepared to advocate on behalf of your team, make their performance a priority, and incentivize and reward them for their successes both privately and publicly.

7) You Can Think Strategically

Strategic thinkers aren’t just executors, they’re planners, and as a manager, you will be expected to set the agenda for your team members and help to implement the strategies that they follow.

While you may not be responsible for creating company-wide strategies just yet, as a manager you should still have the strong ability to think strategically and beyond short-term goals or KPIs. Managers need to understand what the wider business goals are of the organization and then stay agile enough to keep their team focused amid any changing internal or external circumstances.

8) You Lead By Example

It is most important for a great manager to be able to walk their talk. The people that you manage will respect your leadership if you are clear and consistent. Employees will catch on pretty quickly if you say one thing or lay down one set of expectations for them but then do the opposite yourself. If you tell your team that transparent communication and respect is a workplace priority but you are rarely available for feedback and tend to give only negative criticism, it won’t be long before you’ll lose their loyalty, their trust, and very likely their employment with your organization.

9) You Care About The Big Picture

Managers see well beyond their own role and even their own team or department and consider the organization as a whole when they’re executing tasks and mentoring employees. In order to effectively communicate expectations to your employees and manage their performance/success, you have to have a solid understanding of the wider business goals and focus of your organization and, most importantly, how your department and direct reports contribute to the overall growth or health of the company. The longevity and sucess of your organization is paramount to you in the way you execute your responsibilities.

10) You Have a Clear Leadership Philosophy

We often think that leadership philosophies belong only to those who occupy the c-suite, but if you take on a leadership position, even managing a small team in your department, you should have a clear idea of your own management style and approach.

11) You're Ready To Be Held Accountable For Your Team

If an issue arises from the action or inaction of one of your team members, the responsibility may fall on you, especially if you were unwilling to confront a performance issue, weren’t paying attention or did not provide adequate training. The performance and contributions of your team and all that are under your management are ultimately your responsibility. Management is often a lonely place to be because of the pressures and responsibilities that falls squarely upon your shoulders.

12) You Have Thick Skin

Managers make mistakes and managers get criticized. If you can’t handle either, then don’t go into management. Put differently, how many times in your career have your run into your boss’s office and said, “I just want to thank you for the wonderful job you do managing me.” That answer is probably zero.

People generally don’t complement their managers; they criticize them. You probably have criticized most of yours. Don’t expect things to be any different once you become the manager.

Final Thoughts

Reaching management level in business won’t guarantee big bucks, a corner office or even a really nice chair. The hours are long and the pressure rises with increased responsibilities and expectations.

However, good leaders can make or break a team, and it’s the mix of risk, visibility and impact that makes it compelling to those who are driven to pursue management or executive level positions.

A position of leadership and responsibility is the right fit for you if; you want to go into management because you really enjoy the process of leading people. You will also have a more direct impact on the decisions that will form and make your organization and the impact It has in your community.

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