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Mar 08

Do You Want to Become a Manager?

Posted by: Steve Marr

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Mary Ann, a top-flight computer programmer, was well regarded and appreciated by her employer. When a management position became available in her department, she was the leading candidate for the job. At first, Mary Ann was inclined to accept the promotion gladly, but then a shadow of doubt settled in. She wasn't sure she really wanted the job. When she thought about it, she realized that she enjoyed the challenge of writing code and making systems work, and she was reluctant to trade those duties for the responsibility of directing the work of others. After careful consideration, Mary Ann declined the promotion as graciously as she could and stayed in her present position.


Most employees will accept a promotion without really thinking through all the ramifications. Stepping up to management is a big move and the challenge is not for everyone. Before you rush into uncharted waters, take a good, long look at what you'll be giving up and what you'll be gaining. Consider your current job description: What parts do you like, and what do you dislike? What aspects of your job draw out your passion? Which tasks and responsibilities get you charged up? What are your key work goals? Now ask yourself the same questions about the available management position. Are you still interested?

When a management position opens up, many employers will single out the best worker in the department and offer that person the job. Unfortunately, the best worker doesn't always make the best manager. Many computer programmers, sales professionals, and service technicians enjoy the hands-on "doing" of their jobs. They've entered their respective fields because they like to create, or work with their hands, or interact with customers. By definition, the role of a manager is different than that of a subordinate. Sometimes workers who desire to be promoted don't understand all the differences, often to their dismay.

When offered a management position, consider several important issues. First, determine how much of your time will be required for administrative tasks versus the type of work you are now doing. A manager of computer programmers, for example, may still spend up to 70 percent of his or her time programming, whereas an automotive shop supervisor may spend no time working on cars. If you are in sales and you enjoy the dynamic of the sales interaction-and paperwork is what you hate-think twice about accepting a management position.

Another important consideration: Will you need to manage former peers? Managing friends and former peers is not easy, and some folks will struggle with that responsibility.

Several key skills that are not as important to non-managers are essential for effective management. For example, teaching and transferring work skills is an important element in developing staff. Strategic thinking is often required of business leaders, as well as the ability to solve abstract problems. Effective interpersonal skills are also significant, because managers must relate well to both subordinates and senior managers-and managers need to toe the company line, which is a difficult challenge for some people.

Be certain to ask in-depth questions about what will be expected in the new job. Will you be responsible for managing a budget? Developing and implementing work plans? Forecasting? Innovating? The answers to these question will help you determine whether you truly desire a promotion.

Consider personal balance in making your decision. Hourly workers can usually depend on a regular work day, but managers can't afford to watch the clock, and you may not always be able to walk out the door at five o'clock. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle is a valid reason to decline a promotion. An increase in salary and other perks may be a factor, but be careful not to make finances your number one consideration.

If you choose to turn down a promotion, how you communicate your decision to the company is extremely important. First, thank your boss or the other senior managers for considering you worthy for promotion, but tell them that you believe a promotion is not right for you or the company. Explain that you love your job and that becoming a manager would take you away from the work you most enjoy. Tell them that maintaining your current position is the best way you can continue to contribute to the company's success. To demonstrate your value to management, offer to assist in other areas where your strengths can be well utilized.

If you decide to accept an offered promotion, how well you have prepared yourself for the increased responsibility will be the key to your future business success and happiness.

Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach

Featured in "Godly Business Women"

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