What are your Ambitions? Management!

“In the future I would like to manage a team” or “I’d like to develop my leadership skills in a next opportunity, are ambitions we hear often from our network. Especially from young and driven professionals, who are eager to climb the career ladder. More experienced and senior professionals on the other hand, who in many cases have led a team in the past, increasingly mention their wish of working independently and being closer to the actual operation. An interesting insight, is this management or leadership role really what you desire?

Do you really want to be a manager?

There are multiple reasons why professionals want to make this next step in their career. Often, they point out their willingness to make more impact on both people and the organization, to help people around them develop themselves or have a more crucial say in the general strategy of the company. Or, is the desire to manage driven by money, status, fame or prestige?

We believe, every person at some point in their career needs to ask themselves the question: “Do I really want to be a manager?” This might seem like a simple question, but the answer is quite complicated. It requires honesty, digging deeper and finding answers for yourself. Leadership may seem like a natural next step (and the people around you might think it’s the best thing to do), while it might not be the best way to expand your role or grow as a professional. Management isn’t the only way to grow, get a raise or make more impact, and certainly isn’t the best career progression for everybody.

In order to make a well-considered choice whether managing is the best suiting next step. Reflecting on the following questions might assist.


Do you feel comfortable losing control?

In a leadership role, ‘letting go’ can be a challenge for some individuals. The art of delegation is part of the job. It requires a mindset shift from the belief that you’re the best person to do the job and resist the temptation to do it yourself. This makes you depending on your team, and their performance, and accepting that even when things go wrong, you’re the one responsible.


Do you love helping to develop others and spend more time on advancing their careers, rather than your own?

In general one should ask him/herself if they love dealing with humans. Every day. Do you enjoy learning their personalities, weaknesses, strengths, backgrounds or might it be tiring for you? A manager’s job is to continuously check-up upon the wellbeing, improvement and challenges of others. Your job involves ensuring people get the best out of themselves and progress in reaching their ambitions, meaning you will have to let go of your own sometimes. Ask yourself if you find pure happiness in seeing others succeed and being responsible for people’s progress. Otherwise management might not be the ideal next step for you.


Can you say “No” when you need to?

An often described phenomenon are the challenges of the middle manager. Many professionals actually find middle management roles more difficult than entry level or senior level management positions. The middle manager is not really in charge of setting direction, and the actual operation of this direction must be done by its team members. Being in the middle of this playing field, it’s no surprise that being able to say “No” and being realistic about expectations both ways is an important quality.


Are you ready for administrative hassle, emotions and the occasional conflict?

In line with the insights given in the previous paragraph, you can imagine management is not just about celebrating success with your team. Management is a tough job. At some point, when KPI’s or objectives set are not achieved, you have to hold people accountable. You need to give people feedback that they may not want to hear. Did you consider the fact that you might have to fire people when they keep on underperforming? Or if someone experiences personal issues, you also carry the load and are looked at for solutions? If you are a conflict averse person or struggle with being (or not being) empathetic, you might have to think twice if a management role is really going to make you happy.


Do you feel like you have to lead a team, in order to make a strategic impact on the business?

Many professionals feel they have to climb hierarchically within an organization to make more impact. Yet, people management is not the only way. What we often see is that business development and innovation are no longer the responsibility of one dedicated team. Many of the most impactful transitions or innovations within a company are orchestrated and led by a specialist, because they are independent and have the strongest people skills. Laying such responsibilities within a team do not deliver the desired results, due to conflicting interests or simply the inability to act fast.


Did you reflect on these insights, and you made a well-considered decision whether you want to be a manager or not? Great! Check our current opportunities, to see if there are any interesting challenging leadership or impactful independent positions available.