Is Management For You?

10 Reasons Why You May Not Really Want to Be the Boss

Think you want that top management job?  Before you leap have a look at this article and make sure you’ve thought through what it really means to be a manager.  Here are 10 of the toughest parts about being the boss.  If you’re not ready to take on each and every one of these downsides, then I’m sorry, but management jobs aren’t for you.

1.         You’ll have to make decisions that other people won’t like: 

Whether it’s ending a favourite promotion, not hiring an employee’s friend, or scheduling people to work over a bank holiday weekend (Or worse a hurling match weekend in Kilkenny), you’ll have to make decisions that may not be popular with your team.

2.         You’ll need to tell people they’re not performing well:

Sometimes these will be people you like and who are trying hard.  Either way, it’s going to be a hard conversation that rarely gets easier, and you won’t be able to shy away from it because addressing problems head-on is a key part of a manager’s job.

3.         You’ll need to fire or lay off people: 

Can you picture yourself telling someone that today will be her last day of work?  If not, think twice before becoming a manager.  I’ve had to do it in the past and it never gets easier.  In fact, if you find it is easy, you’re probably not fit to be a manager.

4.         You’ll need to tell people no:

You’re going to the person who has to say no sometimes—to a request for a raise, or for time off, or for a promotion, or a plea for a new computer. (Of course, you also get to say yes too, which is one of the upsides.)

5.         When things go wrong, you’ll be the person blamed:

When things go right, you’ll give your team the credit. But when they go wrong, you’re the one who shoulders the blame. Even if the problem was due to an employee’s mistake, you’re ultimately the person accountable.  Even worse when you consider point 3 and see that when things go wrong, it may result in lay-offs and that my friend, is happening on your watch.

6.         Your decisions are high stakes:

If you hire the wrong person, release the wrong product / promotion, or make the wrong budget trade-offs, your decisions could cause the company’s ruin.  Even an offhanded comment could land you in court.  Every decision you make, even the smallest ones, could have unforeseen price tags.

7.         You may have to enforce rules you don’t agree with:

Disagree with your employer’s policy on promotions? Well, mention that to your employees and you’ve just undermined your own boss. If your company has a policy you don’t agree with, hard luck but it’s still going to be your job to enforce it.

8.         Friendships with lots of people in your office will be off-limits:

As the boss, you need to have professional boundaries between you and the people you manage. You can’t have the same types of office friendships that you might have had before you became a manager.

9.         You’ll be scrutinised:

Everything the boss says or does carries more weight. If you express particular enthusiasm for one person’s idea, people will assume that’s the idea they should back. If you’re out sick on the day everyone else is stocktaking or performing some other mind numbing task, people will talk about it for weeks.  If you’re in a grumpy mood, people will spend days wondering what they did wrong and parsing their relationship with you.  Also, they’ll think it’s okay to come to work in a bad mood because if it’s good enough for you….

10.     Some people won’t like you: 

If you’re a good manager, you’re going to make decisions that anger and upset some people.  You are going to tell some people their work isn’t good enough.  You are going to hold accountable people who may not want to be held accountable.  You are going to institute and enforce policies that may exist for a good reason but still irritate the bejesus out of some people.  You are going to have to fire people at some point.  You’ll need to make peace with the fact that there will be people complaining about that horrible person they worked for, and that horrible person will be you. So if you’re deeply invested in trying to be liked by everyone, don’t go into management.

These are some of the reasons to stop and think, but you know what?  If you are the type of person who looks at how something is done and thinks “I know a better way” or “Management have it easy” I direct your thoughts to an expression often used (Mostly in jest) “You are not entering the manager’s office, it’s hell, with fluorescent lighting.”