Is becoming a manager and people management actually good for you? You’re the only one that can answer this question as long as you’re prepared and know what you’ve signed up for. Do your homework. Remember there is no glory in becoming a manager. It’s actually ‘ok’ to stay in an individual contributor or technical role if that’s the work you enjoy most.
However, if you think that becoming a manager is for you, there are 3 major areas you’ll need to consider when making the shift from a technical role to people management. But first I’ll highlight common reasons why people take on promotions:
Rarely do I hear the following from people when asked why they want to be a manager:
I highly encourage you to look beyond the prestige of the job title and salary to determine if a people management role is really meant for you.
The next step towards a leadership position may not feel natural because being a high performing technical expert requires very different skills sets than a manager.
Shifting to a management position is one of the toughest career transitions. Here are a few reasons why:
I’ve seen many technical staff get promoted because they’ve done a good job for a long time. However, after the promotion, many have shared their struggles and the feeling of being “out of their element.” The job was not what they expected or they weren’t ready for the transition.
Technical skills will only get you so far. Just because you’re good at your job doesn’t make you management material – yet.
Here are some questions to help you decide if a promotion to become a manager is right for you:
And here are some challenges faced by new people managers or even experienced managers:
As the leader of your team, you need to ensure that you have a sound understanding of the company strategy so that the actions of your team is aligned with the direction of the company.
With increased responsibility as a people manager, you’ll be more visible since you’ll represent your team. It’s not just about you anymore.
You’ll need to continuously find ways to integrate with other departments.
You’ve got to move beyond your functional area and observe the interests of other teams and the overall goals of the organization; so that you and your team can deliver results that are aligned with the company.
To achieve company results, you need to represent your team and partner with other teams to achieve company goals.
Not only do you need to consider your own interests, but you’ll also need to be mindful of your team’s, company’s, and other stakeholders’ interests.
Your ability to influence and persuade others is essential when navigating the company and having an impact to achieve your team’s objectives.
To achieve optimal results for the team and company, you’ll need to clearly communicate how your team will support the company strategy and motivate them to perform.
In addition to all your other responsibilities, you can’t neglect the development of your employees who are doing the day-to-day work to help achieve the team’s objectives. This is where you need to have a solid handle on your own management style and understand each of your employees well. Each individual is unique and needs to be managed differently.
Having highlighted the major challenges shifting from a technical role to a people manager role, there are a few mindset shifts you’ll need to make as well.((Center for Creative Leadership: 6 Shifts New Leaders Much Make to Succeed))
With increased authority as a people manager, you also have the responsibility to use your power for good to support your team to achieve goals. This also means shouldering the failures of your team without blaming your team.
Because ultimately, you manage your team and you are part of the failures for any mismanagement of your team. Being resilient to learn more about the failures of your team can help you become a stronger manager.
When you attend meetings, build relationships and navigate the organization, remember that you represent the interests of your team.
Many managers have a challenging time letting go of the details because they were high performers in a technical role. You’ll need to trust the ability of your team to look after the daily details so that you can focus on the strategic work.
Now that you’ve had a preview of the key responsibilities of a people manager, here are some of the skills and abilities you’ll need to develop:
Here are some key areas to help improve your management skills:
Becoming a people manager is a challenging undertaking. You need to look inside yourself to determine if this is the right career path for you. Are you taking on increasing responsibilities that are aligned with your values and strengths? Revisit the questions at the beginning of the article to determine if this is the right move for you.
Talk to people who you believe have successfully made the transition to a management position. What were some of their challenges and how did they overcome them?