There are Challenges—But Managing Can Be a Great Job and Career!
This article is all about balancing the scale a bit for those aspiring to management or early in their careers as first-time managers. You see, in spite of my ample warnings on the difficulties of this role, it turns out, managing is genuinely an excellent job for the right people. Heck, I’ll go so far as to suggest the position of manager at different times is exciting, engaging, and even fun.
Of course, you need those good times to carry you through the rest of the time when it feels like you are slogging uphill in the driving rain with the wind in your face. Sorry, my reality meter is finely tuned not to paint unrealistically warm and fuzzy pictures about managing. There are very few unicorns or rainbows. But, there are some great days, and in the long-run, this job can be incredibly rewarding—both financially and psychically.
Six Big Reasons Why You Will Love Managing
1. Managing Tests Your Ability to Learn and Adapt
Taking on the role of the manager is a commitment to learning new skills at a rapid pace. From the soft skills of delivering performance feedback and conducting coaching discussions to issues around budgeting and reporting, expect your first few years in management to be a whirlwind of new learning. For many, exposure to all of the “new” of managing is one of the most exciting aspects of the role.
2. You Get the Opportunity to Create
I love the creative side of managing. Creating an effective working environment where people are excited to do their best is a challenging task demanding creativity. As you rise through the ranks, you may get to create new programs, teams, products, processes and even markets or businesses. Within twelve months of my first management job, I was involved in creating new programs and departments for new markets. Within four years, I was working inside one of the world’s largest businesses, helping create a new business unit. This work of creating was rocket fuel for motivation and performance.
3. You Get the Opportunity to Create with a Group
One of my favorite responses to the question, “Why did you get into management?” came from a newly retired CEO reflecting on his career. His answer: “I enjoyed my engineering work but realized I could create much more for my firm by leading a team of engineers.” In my examples above of building new departments and businesses, I was privileged to work with some incredible people united around a common goal. While the accomplishments fade, the experience of working with great people stays with you for a lifetime.
4. You Get to Help Good People Succeed
While you will navigate some challenging characters, it’s energizing to work around and to support people interested in doing their best and growing in their careers. If you care for people, it’s a privilege to support their efforts.
5. The Job is Challenging—There are Always Problems to Solve
If you like solving puzzles the job is perfect for you. There’s an intense level of satisfaction that comes from untangling a customer problem and making it right or solving a vexing technical or process problem that leads to success. As you grow in your career, you will face complex people and structural challenges, and at some point, you may help navigate the ultimate puzzle of solving for strategy and bringing it to life.
6. Get it Right and You Will Look Back and Marvel at What You Helped Create
The best leaders I’ve worked around are motivated to create results but inspired by the work of building careers. If you put your heart and soul into this work, at some day in the future, you get to look back just for a minute at the people you helped launch into their careers and genuinely marvel at what they’ve achieved. There’s the person you gave a break to who’s now running a business. And the person you worked hard at coaching back from the brink of the job is now a successful executive. And you smile because you had the opportunity to support them for one brief step during their respective journeys.
The Bottom-Line for Now:
I love the work of managing and leading. Managing is everything I mentioned above and then some. In addition to the six benefits above, I can cite the changing role of the manager in our world and the need for managers who can help their firms level-up. Of course, life doesn’t deliver the benefits without demanding hard work. You will struggle and strain and deal with strife and naysayers along the way. But know that if you stick with it and are good at what you do, the positives are just so much better than all of that noise you’ll encounter along the way.