You may have reached a point in your career when it's time to move up the career ladder or consider taking on a new direction altogether. No matter where you are in your career journey, making a change is never easy.
To help you choose the right direction for you and your goals, here are three essential questions to ask before moving to a management role – as chosen by our tech experts at Nexton.
#1. Do you have the characteristics to be an effective manager?
Being a manager is no walk in the park. Some people are just built to be managers, while others have to work a little at it.
Those who find managing easy tend to naturally have the characteristics to be a successful and effective manager, such as:
- The ability to multitask and oversee many aspects of the projects that they lead.
- A strong sense of leadership and understanding of how to connect with their team.
- An overall attitude that’s positive, encouraging, and empathic to their fellow teammates.
- A willingness to go the extra mile to get deliverables done right.
As a manager, you aren't just sitting behind a computer anymore but aiding in motivating, supporting, and building a productive work environment.
It’s essential to ask yourself whether you want to take on these responsibilities. You might even take this handy quiz “Are you ready to become a manager?” to see where you stand.
Remember: there’s no need to choose management just because you want to move up in the company. Perhaps there are other opportunities better suited for your career development goals, so consider carefully whether these characteristics above sound like you.
#2. Are you ready to upskill to become a better leader?
A surprising 58% of managers said they didn’t receive any management training (according to Forbes). Yet, all managers must learn new skills in order to excel.
For example, when you become an engineering manager, you’ll have two sets of skills that you should improve regularly: your technical skills and soft skills.
The technical side
Your technical skills may be already there, but when approaching a manager position, these skills can look different or be applied differently.
For example, you may work alongside your direct reports to pull and analyze data and build reports for project metrics. Reporting is a part of a project manager's duties, as well as knowing how to interpret the analytics and offer solutions or ideas based on that data.
Other technical skills may include programming, risk management, technical writing, etc. To build up your technical skills during your career, be sure to:
- Stay on top of industry trends
- Attend workshops and conferences
- Take management and technical courses
- Network with other professionals
- Start a reverse mentorship program
By acting now to improve your technical skills, you’ll be better prepared to lead in an industry that is fast-moving and constantly changing.
The soft skills
Soft skills are like the backbone of your skillset. You'll need them to start strong and continue to lead well as you grow in your manager position.
(Source: Digital Information World)
According to an analysis of real job postings, the most in-demand soft skill at 22.5% is collaboration. However, there is a range of other skills required, including emotional intelligence, decision making, strong communication skills, empathy, active listening, and transparency.
For a first-time manager, it’s essential to know and understand what skills you need or should strengthen. Try performing a SWOT analysis (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat) of your management potential. Self-evaluate each of these categories and listen to real team member feedback, so you have a good sense of what soft skills you need to work on.
#3. Are you ready to be pushed out of your comfort zone?
Of course, management roles aren’t without their challenges. As a manager, you'll be dealing with many projects, issues, and deadlines all at once. It’s important to have a growth mindset to take your career to the next level.
Many first-time managers may feel intimidated by the huge responsibility of delegating assignments, giving feedback, staying innovative, and more. In fact, 69% of managers feel uncomfortable communicating with team members in general.
No matter your weak areas, it’s vital to rise above your comfort level and upskill where needed. By stretching yourself and pushing past the unfamiliar, you can only grow as a team leader.
In case you missed it, get more tips here: From IC to Manager: Five Steps to Accomplish a Smooth Transition.
Get ready for the next step in your career!
Management is something that many IT professionals may be interested in pursuing. And with many remote options available for you, the possibilities are endless.
If you think you have what it takes to be successful as a manager, it may be time to dust off your resume! You can start your job search by joining Nexton’s talent network and connecting with impactful companies and purposeful startups worldwide.