For those who are considered to be good at what they do, at some point in your career, you will likely be asked to take on the responsibility of managing people. It's very common for people who are skilled in their role to move into a leadership role of some type.
Regardless of what that role entails, if you are responsible for the success of others, you have a responsibility that I believe to be grossly misunderstood. Many people refer to it as being a boss. They view their role as being superior and believe they have the power to make decisions that others do not. While this may be somewhat true, it's so much more than that.
Leadership is not about power. Managing people is not about authority. It's nothing to do with being a boss and in my opinion if you look at it that way, you shouldn't be managing people. Yes, you have the ability to make hiring decisions. And you also have the responsibility to decide when it's time for someone to part ways with your organization.
Your ability to make decisions that directly impact people's lives carries enormous responsibility. It requires you to be able to assess situations and make sound decisions. It involves business acumen, but it's important to never overlook the human element of decisions you make.
Throughout my career, I have seen people promoted into leadership positions just because they were successful in a role as an individual contributor. In sales, just because you are a successful sales professional, that doesn't mean you will be a successful sales leader. It's unfortunate, but I have seen countless, high-performing sales professionals fail miserably in management and leadership positions.
Sure it helps to know the job of those you are managing. It matters that you can walk the talk. Credibility is important. People don't want to work for someone they consider to be incompetent and incapable of doing his or her own job. People certainly respect a manager who has done the job that they do, but it is certainly not a requirement.
The role of a manager is serious. You directly impact the success of many individuals. People look to you for guidance. They look to you for direction. And they expect you to help them be successful. This in itself is something I consider to be very important to grasp and something everyone in a management role should take seriously.
When you think about how much you impact the lives of people you manage, it can be overwhelming. They spend more time with you than they do with their own family. You are the person responsible for helping them reach their personal and professional goals. You are the person they come to with problems. And you are expected to perform.
While the pressure is high, managing people is something I consider to be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have in your career. There is no better feeling than watching someone you manage grow personally, develop professionally and be successful.
But there is something you can never forget. People depend on you and count on you to be on top of your game at all times. If you're not willing to fully commit yourself to the success of others and own that responsibility, you should steer clear of managing people.
Thompson (email@example.com) writes Closing the Deal weekly for the New Hampshire Sunday News.