Obviously, there are certain personalities and characteristics needed in order to be a good manager. Part of what I love about my job is being able to discover people with a talent for leadership. Necessary managerial traits distinguish these people from the rest:
Be prepared to be diplomatic, strategic and self-sacrificing before even considering a management promotion. You must enjoy managing tasks and being considered an authority. Decision-making feedback must come from you.
The most common trait I observe in managers who have mistakenly been promoted is their failure to connect with employees. You could be the smartest, most experienced person in your field, but if you cannot form a relationship with any of your teammates or colleagues, then you're dead in the water. On the other hand, your career will soar into positions you never thought possible if your colleagues view you as trustworthy, reliable and relatable.
Too often, people run away with the dream of a huge office and their name on a gold plaque before taking the rose-colored glasses off to see the real duties associated with becoming a manager. I have had to sacrifice things – time, sleep and my favorite TV shows, just to name a few – in order to maintain my position. A leader is depended upon for anything at any hour of the day or night. It is absolutely critical to consider the possible life changes that may come with accepting a promotion into leadership.
Remember that a position in management requires a completely different set of tasks and responsibilities. You have to ask yourself if you really, truly love your current job. If you can't imagine a day going by without interacting with customers, developing reports or any other of your current duties, then I would strongly caution against making the leap to the management ledge.
Even after going through all these preparations, sometimes you just have to jump into a managerial situation, feet first, to see if you're ready to take on these new pressures. The good thing about this approach is you will learn very quickly if managerial positions are right for you. If not, don't sweat it. Like I said earlier, not everyone is cut out for management, and management isn't cut out for everyone. Knowing whether or not you want to be a leader is strictly up to you, no one else. It doesn't matter if you are a leader or manager by title; we are all true leaders of our own lives.
Wendy Komac is a longtime turnaround specialist who has helped save companies by focusing on changing underperformers to exceptional workers. She is the author of I Work with Crabby Crappy People, a humorous and highly informative book about achieving happiness and success.
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