That is the question. People usually become managers because they’re good at another job. They then find themselves with two jobs – the job they trained for, which they know a lot about; and the job of managing other people, about which they may know little or nothing. Some find managing others exhilarating from the start. Others feel inadequacy and panic, especially if put in charge of the team they were part of before.


So people should ask themselves this key question well before being offered a management job: “Do I want to be a manager?”

If you have not already thought about this, find a coach and a mentor to support your search for the answer. Mentors often provide their services for free, and there are kind-hearted coaches who will discount their normal fees for a young person with a big decision to make.

There are also good psychometric tests which help you understand what your own work preferences are. Doing a job for which you are not psychologically suited will only make you – and possibly your colleagues – miserable.

Photo © Steve Flinders

Management is not for everyone. Some people prefer to concentrate on their own specialist jobs and look no further for satisfaction. It takes some courage to decide not to be a manager, but you should feel that it is okay to do this if it is the right thing for you.

Not wanting to be a manager should not be stigmatised. Circumstances may dictate that you cannot refuse and, in smaller organisations, jobs have to be shared out more, whether people like them or not. But, ultimately, the choice is about how you can best continue to flourish and grow.

It is an important decision, but not an irreversible one. The world of work would be a better place if more new managers took up their new responsibilities with a clearer idea of their reasons for this big step.

Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally:

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Scan Magazine Ltd.’

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