Do You Have What It Takes To Be a Manager?
By The Monster Career Coach
Hard work and consistent results will help get you noticed at work. That doesn’t guarantee that you’re management material.
There’s more to being in the leadership pipeline than meeting deadlines and pumping out work yourself. Managing requires delegating to others and motivating people. It involves guiding, rewarding and disciplining in the right measures.
What kinds of traits should you personally have if you plan to be a manager? The following nine will give you a pretty clear idea.
1. Ability to Listen Well
Maybe you figured the opposite, that barking out orders or constantly ordering staff around would be a prized. You do need to give clear directions. Effective managers, however, have refined listening skills.
It’s not just you doing all the work anymore. Now you must really hear what your direct reports tell you about project schedules, issues that crop up, departmental dynamics…it won’t help to yell “Get it done!” if you aren’t aware of actual impediments.
2. Tolerance for Ambiguity
When a manager delegates, they give up knowing precisely where every task stands at any given moment. This uncertainty can lead to anxiety. Anxiety can lead to micromanaging and mistrust.
It’s important to learn how to live with the ambiguity. If you’ve trained your people well, have given them proper instructions, and supplied them with adequate resources, you won’t know exactly what’s what until the next check-in. Can’t stand the suspense? Stay in a staff role where you’re always hands on.
3. Desire to Help Those Who Work for You Succeed
A manager’s success depends on the performance of their team. That’s a lot different than trying to be an individual superstar. If you enjoy watching your employees grow and stretch; if you take pride when someone who reports to you starts fast-tracking; that’s the kind of attitude great managers have.
4. Not Easily Put Off By Criticism
Bosses don’t have to take guff from their workers, right? Well, it’s a nice thought. Even if it were true (hint: it’s not), there are many sources of dissention. Other managers who compete for scarce resources yank your chain. Your own boss demands better results. And those docile employees of yours? Sometimes they say the darndest things to your face. Which you’d better listen to. Because they can’t always be wrong.
5. Readiness to Share the Limelight
Managing is a lonely job for glory hogs. Keep claiming ownership of your staff’s ideas or stealing their thunder at acknowledgment time, and see who’s got your back when a project turns sour. Keeping your ego in check – and giving credit where it’s due – makes all of you look like stars.
6. Willingness to Improve Your People Skills
Just what exactly are these ballyhooed “people skills” we hear so much about? Things like persuasion (as opposed to bossing). Inviting honest feedback. Encouraging conflict resolution. Promoting collaboration. Being patient. Time to review all the nice things you learned in Kindergarten.
7. Being Diversity-Minded
Straight-ahead thinkers who hate conflicting opinions needn’t apply. Managing means harnessing the strengths of unique people from different backgrounds.
8. Preparedness to Protect Your Own
Managers owe a care of duty to the people under their authority. Military commanders know this sense of duty. Parents intuit it naturally. But not everyone possesses the instinct to safeguard those they oversee. That’s too bad. Because nothing generates loyalty, or spurs motivation, like taking one for the team instead of hanging someone out to dry.
9. Not Being Averse to Office Politics
There are low level battles being waged each day at work. Without the stomach to take a stand or smooth the way politically so your team can succeed, your days as a manager may be numbered. Instead embrace the game. Learn how to play it. Then guide your staff so they thrive at the same time you do.