Many workers mistakenly view a promotion to management as a prize, the acknowledgement you get for being the best widget-maker or bean-counter. But management is a skill all on its own, entirely separate from the widgets and beans. Some people have natural aptitude, but it takes work and practice like any other skill.
There is no shame in admitting you wouldn't be good at it or just don't want to do it. It will save you, your coworkers, and your company a lot of time and grief. Here are some signs that management isn't your best bet.
You're a Pushover
Management involves some tough decisions. If you're a people-pleaser, this may not be a good fit. Edwin Jansen, managing director at Hirefly, says that what makes someone shine in a service position -- focusing on making everyone happy -- can be a downfall in management. If someone like this is promoted, they often have trouble prioritizing, making tough calls, and realizing they can't please everyone.
You Need Constant Feedback
Managers give feedback and do the supervising -- not the other way around. If you can't work independently and need constant praise or input on your work, you are not ready to manage yourself, much less others.
You Are Inflexible
If you can't go with the flow and make some quick adjustments and accommodations, then management will stress you more than you know. Servers go down, clients are indecisive and staff members call in sick. These plus a million other variables make it impossible to plan your day or a project as precisely as one might like. "An effective manager must read the situation and adjust their style accordingly," says Dave Popple, corporate psychologist and president at Corporate Insights. A rigid person will not be successful.
You Don't Have a Poker Face
One day an employee you hate will need to be fired. Smiling in that meeting would be inappropriate. One day an employee you love will get laid off. Crying in that meeting would be unprofessional. In between, there will be many more awkward moments where you will need to hold it together and remain composed. If you can't do this, move along.
You Are a Control Freak
Good managers set people up for success by giving them all the skills and training to do their jobs and then backing away to let them do it. They're like pageant moms, beaming just offstage while their kids get the glory.
Bad managers get frustrated and just do it themselves. They micromanage. They fail to delegate. They take on too much because they can't let go of anything. They don't see the big picture because they are focused on making sure everything is just so.
Elane Cafasso, executive coach at Enerpace, offers this question to ask yourself: "Can you give folks room to accomplish the team's goals THEIR way, or do you require absolute control over the process?" If you feel like you might be a control freak, that's fine. But know now that trait is not compatible with great management.
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