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The Management Dilemma - Do You Really Want to Be One?
I recently ran across a staggering statistic the other day. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are 6,000,000 plus employees in the country who hold the title of manager (and that does not include those who hold the title of supervisor).
I’m going to guess that of those, very few laid in bed at night as little tikes saying, “Yes, when I grow up some day, I want to be a manager!”
So, I’m going to make a bold proclamation right here, right now and say that there are millions of people slaving away in cubicles or in the lucky office with the window that REALLY don’t want to do what they’re doing. But, they have to – they have no choice…really.
No choice? Well they do and they don’t. With the typical (and I believe antiquated) career path design present in most companies today… “have to” is real if a career is to be built and more money is to be made.
The inevitable need in the structure of any business is to manage it. Every component of a business needs to be attended to so the outcomes can be attained.
As business has evolved over the years, various components have come and gone. There use to be the need of managing a typing pool (some of your reading this article probably have no idea what that is)…boy, those days are long gone! Now there’s a need to manage the networks that connect the computers that replaced the typewriters.
One element of managing a business that has never gone away is that of managing the people who function in the context of the many business components. Managing the people is a needed role that I call the “default role” in business.
Why default? It’s my belief that many managers do not really want to be a manager per sae. They are managers by default. They were good at executing key functions and that qualified them to oversee other people who were doing those functions….whether they could actually oversee them effectively or not.
In many cases this has presented some challenges. Many of the skills necessary for effective oversight are outside the scope of what they were good at before. And, many were asked to move into this role without:
-identifying key skills necessary to be competent in the role
-determining their own level of competency of those skills
-and then acquiring training to fill the gaps.
Sound familiar? Well over the past several years, I’ve discovered this very fact as I’ve traveled across North America conducting management and leadership workshops. I learned that only a small percentage of that six million have adequately been trained to be competent in this essential business function.
The irony?....this role impacts EVERYTHING!!!...yet it doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
In truth, this role is so essential, that the way it’s viewed and treated needs to be elevated to that of a profession. Ok...think about that last statement….a profession…not a pseudo profession, not a default role, but a REAL profession.
Now I know there are people out there that do, even if unconsciously. But I believe that the vast majority of employees in the work place today do not consider the role of management a profession and for some not even an admirable one. I know there are plenty of reasons for that.
Let’s collectively as a management community elevate the game so to speak. Even if you are a “manager by default”, professionalism can still be your mantra. This lesson is all about making a conscious decision..."yes I want to be a manager..not I have to...but I WANT to."
Honestly, if at some point you really can't say that with heart....then it's time to start lookin' for another job.