Making a move into management during your career can be one of the most rewarding and challenging things you can do. While being the boss can have its perks, it also comes with added responsibility and stress. As such, it is valid to question whether everyone is suited for management and whether a management position really should be the ultimate goal.
There will always be the ‘born leaders’, those who easily take charge and are most comfortable in a role that sees them at the top of the chain. However, management is not a given skill and needs to be developed and nurtured. All too often one evolves into a management position after X years of doing the same job, as a recognition of the experience you have acquired in your field. Naturally authority can come through the breadth of knowledge you have acquired during your career, but it does not always suffice and important soft skills are required. Effective leadership comes from those that inspire their teams, ensuring they communicate efficiently in order to achieve the best results, and this is not always synonymous with seniority. If ‘strong communication skills’ is not the first thing you would think to put on your CV, there is no harm in seeking to develop them (after all these skills are both valuable in our work and home lives and will ultimately make us better communicators and collaborators), however candidates should not chastise themselves for not being ambitious if they are not tempted at the prospect of managing a large team. We believe that it is important to be self-aware, conscious of your strengths and what you are able to offer as an individual. Mathematically, we cannot all strive to be at the top of the pyramid, we need a diverse pool of talented people (some more discreet, some more extroverted) in order to works towards common objectives. At Laurence Simons, we use psychometric testing Lumina Sparks, which assigns individual’s colours based on certain personality traits without placing personalities in boxes thus we are all conscious of each other’s strengths and know how our traits complement each other in our work.
Perhaps, going forward, you do not become a senior manager, but instead, you offer to head up a project given to your team. Your capacity to empathise with your colleagues, capitalise on existing relationships, and provide valuable advice and feedback, can contribute to the success of a project and raise your visibility. Reaching outside of your comfort zone (without having to answer directly for the actions of 5-10 other people!) can help you increase confidence in your abilities, your overall well-being in your position, and ascertain whether hierarchical management is something you would be tempted by. Some people manage companies; some manage individual projects; some people self-manage. Everyone is suited to management – it just depends what you are managing.
If you are considering advancing your career through increasing your level of responsibility, you may be interested in the Financial Times Non-Executive Director Workshop, co-hosted by Laurence Simons, which is being held on 20th November this year in London. To find out more about this event, please follow the link https://laurencesimons.prod.kulea.marketing/pages/LS-FT-NED-sign-up-page