Being a boss can be very rewarding, and when you've gained a lot of expertise in your area of tech, the next logical step is often becoming a manager.
But management is certainly not for everyone. In fact, when a supervisor role isn’t a good fit, it can damage an otherwise promising career, so it should be considered very carefully. Here are three questions to ask yourself before becoming a manager:
- Are you motivated by reaching your own professional goals, or by helping others achieve their professional goals? There is not a right or wrong answer here. It’s really about what personally motivates you. Do you prefer having more control over your work product, or are you willing to work through others by teaching and mentoring them through the process? And keep in mind that those you manage may not do things exactly the way you would have. Will you get satisfaction from watching them develop and solve problems?
- Are you comfortable being an outsider and making unpopular decisions? As a manager, you’re less likely to receive open and transparent communication from your employees as you would as a department colleague. You’ll never again be “just one of the team” as you were before you were a manager. You’re the one who has to push team members along a path, and sometimes tell them they’re not getting the job done. A regular part of a manager’s job is dealing with problem performers, incredibly demanding employees or employees who question everything you do. These are complex issues and you need to possess excellent communication skills. You also need to have confidence in your decision-making abilities because your team isn’t always going to agree with you.
- Do you prefer to do your job with few interruptions, or are you willing to be interrupted regularly? If you mostly want to focus on completing your own work, management might not be for you. Managers have to embrace an open-door policy knowing that they will be pulled into conversations and issues they didn’t anticipate every day, often from team members who say, “This will just take a minute …” These interruptions are part of the job, and sometimes that means doing your “regular work” after hours.
Becoming a manager is not for everyone. If you have a well-defined career path as an individual contributor and you’re approached about taking the next step in your career by moving into management, proceed with caution and accept the job for the right reasons.
Never move into management simply because it’s different than the job you have, especially if you’re not really passionate about the role. However, if you feel the desire to expand your skill set and are excited at the thought of taking on greater management responsibilities, becoming a manager can be an incredibly rewarding and challenging role.
Our Salary Guide is a great resource for the latest hiring trends and starting salaries for more than 75 IT jobs: