The best advice that exists regarding making a career choice is to make sure you really do your homework and research before jumping into a career. We all too often look at the more superficial aspects to a career and think we know all there is to know about it just by what we observe. It turns out what we see is like the tip of an iceberg. There is much more to a career than what we think we know without probing further. That fact is especially true for management positions.
A management position may look like it’s all about giving direction and rendering your opinion in meetings. But there are several aspects to a management position that many people fail to realize ahead of time which can be real eye openers. The job can also be miserable if those things aren’t how you want to spend your time or have no taste for doing.
Here are some things you should know about management positions if you are thinking hard about going in that direction:
- Demands come from the top and the bottom. I once went into a management class where the instructor started by saying: “Welcome to the vice grip. You are now going to be squeezed by both the top and bottom.” It turns out to be a very true description of the job. Your job as a manager is to get your group of people to accomplish certain things. You can’t just set the direction and walk away. Your group needs things from you to do their job – they will have their demands. At the same time, the upper management will be asking things of you. The demands of those two groups are sometimes in conflict and your job is to successfully negotiate your way around or through those demands. It can be very stressful. You will soon learn that you can’t always make everyone happy at the same time.
- You are going to have to do tough things and make tough decisions. Essentially, the life and welfare of the people in your group lay in your hands every day. You will have to have tough conversations with people for a variety of reasons – like to fire or lay them off. You will have to make business decisions that may impact your people in a negative way or a way they won’t like. You can count on them being vocal with you when that happens. Despite your best explanation, you are the bad guy.
- You may lose work friends. It’s hard to be in charge and also have friends at work. If they report to you, it won’t be the wisest thing in the world to keep going to dinner at each other’s homes. You can’t play favorites, which can be hard to avoid. You may find it compromises your ability to stay objective when you have to make business decisions, if one of the people you may impact is one you just confided in. You have to distance yourself; and that can be lonely. Although you may find friends in the management ranks, they may be facing the same thing with you. They may be former bosses of yours or future. It’s not an impossible issue to handle, but it can be tricky.
- The big dogs may not be that hot. You may admire the higher ups because of their good sense to promote you into management. Now that you’re here you may find them to be out of touch, self indulgent and prone to what you consider to be making bad decisions. To make matters worse, you will have to “disagree and commit” on many of those bad decisions and execute those directions with your group. While you’re executing what you consider a bad decision, you can’t share your feelings with your group, as it will get back to the upper ranks; and it won’t inspire the group to support the direction. Your ability to vent/complain is almost gone.
- You often won’t get the resources to get the job done. There are almost no businesses that will always have enough money to cover all the people and resources to align with the business goals. The skill you must possess by this point is one of real creative problem solving, business insight and adaptability. You also can’t panic in the face of shortage while the upper management expects flawless execution, all while displaying a big smile. A good way to prepare yourself for these situations is to obtain a degree online. Obtaining a Master’s of Science in Engineering Management, for example, will equip you with some of the mental resources necessary to conquering a number of business goals you may have otherwise been unprepared for. Just a few of the skills you can get with a Masters of Science in Engineering Management degree include statistics, organizational behavior, operations research simulation, and systems engineering. These are all, without a doubt, valuable resources to have at your disposal.
Understand this list is not comprehensive, but is certainly hitting the major points that you may be missing if you are considering moving into management. At the same time, mastering these issues and doing all you can to balance the demands can make for an incredibly rewarding career.
For more career tips and advice – FREE newsletter and eworkbook: http://CareerMakeoverToolKitShouldIstayorShouldIGo.com/ From Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – Your Career Change Agent from www.nextchapternewlife.com and www.mbahighway.com