Fired-up and ready to lead? Find out if you are cut for a managerial role

Friday July 12 2019

BOSS, MANAGER, LEADER, LEADERSHIP

In most workplaces, the natural career trajectory leads to a managerial role. But not everyone is capable of effectively managing others. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

PRISCILLA KAMANDE
By PRISCILLA KAMANDE
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As a young professional looking to advance in your career, it is natural to assume that you will flourish in a managerial role. But according to research, people may like the title, and they may like the money more, but very few of them actually want to manage others. In fact, just 23 per cent of employees actually want to become the boss. Fewer still say they enjoy managing others. So before you accept that promotion, ask yourself: Do you really want a management role, or are you more interested in growing your visibility at work and having more input into business decisions?

You are a go-getter and were born to lead. You want to make a difference in your workplace, and you know you are the right person for the job.

In most workplaces, the natural career trajectory leads to a managerial role. But not everyone is capable of effectively managing others. It is important for employers to identify the employees who deserve promotion, but it is also critical that employees themselves practice self-assessment to discern if they are cut out for managerial positions.

Skills for leadership

Unfortunately, leadership roles today are appealing for the wrong reasons. Many employees desire these roles because of the promise of a higher social status, money, and power. All these have nothing to do with effective leadership. In fact, true leadership is about more than power and ego. Dedicated leaders have an inherent desire to bring out the best from others, and to harness their strengths to achieve collective success.

It is important that you be mindful of your own capabilities as you take up a leadership role. You may be successful as an individual, but accepting a leadership role without the necessary skills could lead to failure.

You want to help others develop

Becoming a manager requires shifting your mind-set from, "what's in it for me?" to "what's in it for others?" Once you accept the role, your responsibility will shift from developing yourself to developing others and driving them towards success. If you are constantly thinking about others, and your words are mostly about inspiring and encouraging them to happily take on work assignments, and if you are willing to take responsibility for their shortcomings, then you are ready for a managerial role.

Good managers often double up as good teachers, and great teachers are also great learners. Especially when working with young, inexperienced employees, a good mentor will often manage to get his or her team to perform better. Keep in mind that your team’s success is also yours to be proud about. Learn to listen closely to the ideas of your subordinates, and try to come up with new strategies together. A leader’s toughest job is to influence his or her team to work toward a common goal. Motivating people to take on the required tasks cheerfully and with determination will always bring about the best in them, and this will generate impressive results. So if you are capable of getting things done by persuading others to do their best without imposing your authority, you can make a great leader.

You are comfortable handling conflict

You must be willing to have crucial conversations, some which may put you at loggerheads with others. At such moments, you must accept that you can't please everyone. To increase their chances of success, leaders must be able to define the company’s targets clearly, and to hold everyone accountable. They should also be confident and knowledgeable when communicating with their subordinates.

Stepping into a managerial position means you have accepted to lead the pack, and not everyone will agree with your choices all the time. You have to be OK with that. Knowing what's best for the team and leading them with their best interests in mind will earn you their respect in the long run. If you are the kind of person who tends to do things just to please others, you may be incapable of leadership.

You will do all it takes to succeed

You should not accept that leadership role unless you are committed to doing what it takes to achieve success, and you plan to leave a good legacy. Many of the skills that will make you a successful manager can be learnt. Things like thinking out of the box, how to engage your team members to work as a team, amiable stakeholder engagement, persuasion, good communication, and self-management are behaviours.

Also, keep in mind that getting into management might mean leaving your current workplace, which could be a challenge if you love or are attached to your current job. Are you okay with the fact that you will now be required to do more to drive others to success, rather than to try and achieve it by yourself? If so, you’re the right person for the promotion!

You embrace uncertainty, ambiguity, volatility, and vulnerability

The difference between success and failure in leadership is a desire and ability to embrace uncertainty, ambiguity, volatility and vulnerability. High-performing leaders have certain personal attributes that allow them to be brave and adventurous. If the idea of stepping outside your comfort zone makes your stomach turn, now might not be the time to accept that managerial position.

Are you ready to shift your mind-set and meet the needs of your team? 

Always remember that as a manager, you must move away from thinking like an individual, and start thinking like a leader. You need to start thinking of ways to get things done with and through others. Without coercion, and without being rude. To be successful, you must be ready and willing to shine a spotlight on the talents and achievements of others, and remain flexible in your approach, so that you can meet the needs of your team.

You already feel like a leader

One sure way to know if you are ready for management is if you are a leader even in your current position. If you've been leading from the front in contributing to the success of your company, consider yourself ready for the next step.

You’re comfortable giving up a little control

Yes. Being a manager doesn’t always mean you get more control. You’ll get the title that warrants you bossing everybody else around, but managing a team actually involves releasing some control. You’ll have to trust your subordinates to get things done without overseeing every small detail.

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