One of the most significant achievements in one’s career is becoming a manager. Taking on a management role or getting a promotion at work requires you to evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, skills, and desires, to determine whether you’re ready for (or if even want) the added responsibility.
You’re likely ready to move into management if you can say “yes” to most of these descriptions:
1. You know your role
You have to know the ins and outs of a team’s roles before you can lead them and ensure they fulfill their responsibilities. You must understand their goals, challenges, and pain points to be able to provide valuable direction and feedback.
2. Not only that, but you are ready to let go
Although you will probably be the one delegating and tracking the performance of your team, you should also be able to give it the resources, tools, and support it needs to succeed. Best managers and leaders empower their subordinates by giving them the tools they need to succeed, rather than controlling or owning every project or task.
3. You’re a good communicator
The ability to communicate expectations clearly and effectively is perhaps the most important attribute of a good manager. No matter how many employees you are managing, communicating expectations and providing honest feedback are fundamental communication skills. As a leader, you must clearly communicate goals and KPIs, provide regular positive feedback (not just negative), and show your bosses and company leadership how your team and department are doing.
4. You want to see others succeed
Leaders who excel recognize and give credit to others where due, and they are committed to supporting their colleagues, direct reports, and team members to reach their goals. As a manager, you should be prepared to advocate on behalf of your team, ensure that their performance is a priority, and reward them for their accomplishments both privately and publicly.
5. You can think strategically
Despite not being responsible for crafting company-wide strategies yet, as a manager you are still expected to see beyond short-term goals and KPIs. Managers need to understand the overall business goals of the organization and then remain flexible enough to keep their teams focused regardless of internal or external circumstances. As a manager, you are expected to set the agenda for your team members and help them implement the strategies they follow.
6. You lead by example
Managers who walk their talk are the best. When you say one thing or set one set of expectations for your employees, but do the opposite, they will pick it up pretty quickly. Telling your team that transparent communication and respect are essentials at work. However, if you rarely provide feedback and only give negative criticism, you’ll lose their loyalty, their trust, and very likely their employment with your organization.
7. You want the responsibility
It may seem obvious, but do you really want to be a leader and all that that entails? Do you consider moving up into management simply because it’s the next step in your career? You might be offered a promotion and can’t imagine saying “no” to a better job title or a higher salary? Consider honestly what motivates you and the type of responsibilities and career path you want before you say “yes” to management. It is better to be self-aware enough to know that you would not thrive in the role than feel obligated to take on a job you will ultimately resent.
8. You care about the big picture
When they execute tasks and mentor employees, managers think beyond their own role or even their own department and consider the organization as a whole. To effectively communicate expectations to your employees and manage their performance/success, you should have a solid understanding of the wider business goals of your organization and, more importantly, how your department and direct reports contribute to the overall growth or health of your organization.
9. You consult with others
A leader will attest to the importance of knowing when to ask for help. Managers who are the best know they don’t know everything, and they’re open to ideas from wherever they come, whether they’re from their team or not. Managers don’t just offer solutions and ideas, they listen, they ask questions, and they value other people’s input. If you think that you are the only one who can solve a problem or come up with great ideas for your department, you are probably not ready to coach others.
10. You have a clear leadership philosophy
If you are in a position of leadership, even managing a small team within your department, you should have a clear understanding of your own management style and approach. Not sure where to begin or how to create your leadership philosophy? See The Power of a Good Leadership Philosophy: Who Needs One and What Should It Say?.