This edition is the last of the three main reasons that are given most on why or how they became a manager. As a quick review the survey results were, 1. It was more money (61%) 2. They disliked their current job (17%) and coming in third was “They were asked to take the job” (14%). If you missed the first two they are available in the archives of our website blog. We think they are worth reading.
Perhaps you’ve been there. The sudden departure of a key manager, (their choice or yours) and you look around thinking, who can fill this position? Nobody’s shown interest and the area of responsibility cannot be ignored. Many leaders look to the best individual contributor they have and go for the close. There are two sides to this story.
First: The manager filling the position needs to ask themselves, Why am I in this position? One of the most important items to tend for is this very circumstance. Being ready and prepared for this all too common event.
Some of the due diligence in long term planning include: 1. Who are my key players? 2.Why do I consider them key players? 3. What skills do they possess that make them a good fit. 4. What skills are needed that I can provide training for? 5. Have they shown interest in moving into a leadership position?
One question you don’t see on the list is, “Who can I talk into taking it?” Finding yourself in this position is uncomfortable and has the potential to have a serious impact on the person, yourself, the department and even the company. You may get lucky and catch lightening in a bottle but in our experience, it seldom works out for the organization. Never talk someone into the job. You can’t want it more than they do.
Second: As an employee understand there is nothing wrong with being an individual contributor. It’s a known fact that there are far more individual contributors then there are managers. No company can succeed without them. Being a great employee who does everything that is asked and who has a great attitude makes you the prize envy of all the other managers who aren’t fortunate enough to have someone like you. It will never be however, the reason to be a manager.
Having a good discussion with your supervisor is a good place to start. Let them know where you stand. There are a good many reasons not to take a managerial position. It could be where you are in your life or where you think you are heading. Generally, managers will put in more time than employees. Are you willing to invest that time? Before you take the job is the time to figure out if it is a good fit.
On the professional side you need to accurately assess what skills you lack, what skills you can quickly add to your skillset. Have you ever been a manager? Can you take management classes that can prepare you? How are your organizational skills, interpersonal skills, coaching skills and more? These questions will allow you to make a good decision when asked. Never let someone talk you into the job. I’ve seen a great many employees become bitter and unproductive after taking a job they weren’t prepared for. Oh sure, there is a chance you could grow into it but the chances of success are greatly diminished.
Being ready and wanting the job keeps these words (I hear on a regular basis) from ever crossing your lips, “I never would have taken this job if I’d known it was going to be like this.”