5 reasons not to become a manager

Your primary motivation for becoming a manager should not be to get a larger office or a pay rise. Here are five considerations to make if you are offered a management position.

Being promoted is a pat on the back, and many organizations use it as a reward for particularly valued employees. Therefore, it can also be difficult to refuse a promotion.

"Most people say ‘yes’ if someone comes and says: "We like you, would you like to have more responsibility and a higher salary?". There is a high degree of recognition in that", explains IDA's career consultant Morten Esmann. 

But if you accept the promotion without considering what motivates you in the leadership role, you risk regretting it bitterly. As a career consultant, he talks to many IDA members who do not thrive in the leadership role because they did not understand what it entailed before they accepted. 

Morten Esmann has identified five aspects of leadership that you must be able to accept if you want to be a manager.  

You must give up part of your specialist role

As a manager, you move away from the specialty you learned at university, and you may no longer have the tasks you thought were exciting before. And you'll have to come to terms with that, because otherwise you risk becoming a job thief.

"If you can't let go of your tasks, you risk becoming what is called a servicing manager. When your employees come to you with a question, you end up taking on the whole task because it's easier or because you think it's an exciting task. It negatively affects your employees' job satisfaction, and at the same time it means that you get too much work yourself", says Morten Esmann.

If you are in doubt as to whether you thrive solving tasks through others, then it is probably not the right time for you to become a manager.

Morten Esmann,
Career consultant, IDA

It can be lonely at the top

If you primarily derive job satisfaction from the social cohesion with your colleagues, you must think extra carefully before accepting a position as a manager. When you move up the hierarchy, you are partly withdrawing from the collegial unity. 

"If you are afraid of becoming unpopular, management is probably not for you. We often have a close relationship with our colleagues, but as a manager you must be able to keep a certain distance, because you may end up in a situation where you have to make decisions based on your position of authority. So its true when they say that it can be lonely at the top", says Morten Esmann.

You lose influence

When skilled specialists become managers, they are often motivated by being able to have greater influence within their field of expertise. But paradoxically, the opposite often happens, because as leaders they must both be responsible for their superiors and subordinates.

"As a first-time manager, you have very limited influence on the strategy and overall direction of your organisation, but you still have to pass it on to your employees. Therefore, some feel that they are trapped between a rock and a hard place", says Morten Esmann.

You must prioritise strategy over specialist knowledge

As a specialist, you can concentrate on solving your tasks as best as possible, but as a manager in an organisation with several departments, you must also have a political and strategic sense. Sometimes, for example, you don't have to solve a task in the way that makes the most professional sense, but in a way that fits the strategy or the management's priorities. 

"Many managers are surprised that they have to compete with their managerial colleagues. It is primarily a battle for resources, but also for attention. There is also a game going on in some management groups where you try to put yourself forward at the expense of others, explains Morten Esmann.

It is difficult to return

Once you have been a manager, it can be difficult to go back to your old role in the organisation. This is not something that should hold you back if you want to be a manager. But if you are happy with your workplace and in doubt as to whether you should be a manager, this is something you should be aware of.

"It can be difficult to go back to working with those you were the boss of before. There can be a lot of unspoken questions about the authority relationship in such a situation", says Morten Esmann.

For many, it can also be experienced as a defeat to step down from a leadership role, but that is a shame, says Morten Esmann. He points out that there are many who go from being managers to being specialists again because it simply suits them better, and not because they were bad managers. 

What kind of leader do you want to be?

Morten Esmann emphasises that most managers are happy with their careers and tasks, and that you should throw yourself into it if you have the desire and motivation. The most important thing is that you make a reflected choice.  

"You have to ask yourself what kind of leader you would like to be and why someone would be interested in being led by you," reads the advice from Morten Esmann.

If you can answer the two questions clearly, and if your perception of good management matches the attitude of your employer, you can take the leap, but if not, you may need to consider whether the time or the management position is right for you.