Most people enter into their business careers with ambition. Everyone wants to grow and achieve something. However, as the years go by, for some the ambition turns to disillusion, and they get stuck. Others cling onto the ambition and drive fore something more, and for many in business that something more is to be a manager.
In this article I would like to define what exactly it is to be a manager. To attempt to put aside some of the myths and really add an element of reality, so that young people in business understand what they are aspiring towards and what they will be getting themselves into.
So let’s cover the myths first. Management is not about:
- Getting a bigger office
- Getting a bigger pay cheque
- Finally being able to boss others around
- Working less hours because you dictate the times
- An opportunity to bore others in meetings
Now many aspiring managers can be forgiven for thinking that the above is true, as they see many managers above them exerting this very behavior. However, the “Peter Principle” (rising to your level of incompetence) will eventually take hold and return the system to management equilibrium i.e. normally the person gets fired.
So if being a manager is not about the above points, what exactly is it about? Well, consider the following description. A manager is a person who needs to create an environment that maximizes the required outputs. Sounds simple enough? Not when you consider all the elements that make up the environment.
In a typical corporate company the environment consists of, people or employees, up-line managers (bosses), systems, education, customers, products, and mostly problems.
With this system and the definition in mind what does one need to do to optimize and maximize the required outputs? Here is the list:
- Hiring the best people for the job
- Managing the expectations of your up-line managers or bosses
- Accepting responsibility when others in your team mess up
- Giving credit to others when things go well
- Accepting that your staff are human beings and as such come with problems and issues. You cannot ignore these, as they eventually become your problems too. Always be ready to listen.
- Ensuring that your staff are always learning and growing in their roles
- Mentoring and assisting with your staffs career progress
- Handling customers complaints as now the buck stops with you
- Being knowledgeable about your companies products
- Acknowledging that you cannot ignore problems or you will become another managerial failure statistic.
- Work the hours that are needed to get the job done, while maintaining a healthy life balance.
- And lastly, manage your own career.
The last point is an interesting one, as although it comes last on the list, most people think they should put it first. This is so evident in large corporate environments where political infighting is the order of the day.
The irony is, if you look after all the preceding points, you will not need to manager your career success, as it will automatically and spontaneously occur. That is of course provided you have selected to work for a boss that works accordingly to these principles. So perhaps at your next interview, when it comes time for you to ask any questions, the one to ask is, “What do you consider to be important in management?”. After all, it has been shown that careers advance more rapidly with better bosses.
So, if you aspire to be a manager, give some thought to the points above. It’s not for everyone. More money is normally made in sales with less of a burden to carry, and open plan offices tend to be the order of the day. However, if you feel you will be fulfilled by the above list, management can be a rewarding and awesome experience. So go ahead and apply for that job. Create your life.