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What's Different Now You're Management?

By: Lisa Koning - Updated: 7 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Management Staff Responsibility Business

Apart from the change in your job title, which is now likely to include the word Manager, there are other important changes that occur when you progress in your career into management levels.

Change in Expectations

Expectations are always high, I hear you say, regardless of your job title. But above and beyond the expectation to fulfil your duties as detailed in your job description, a Manager has other, often more subtle and not formally documented, expectations.

As a part of the management team you now perform the important role of leadership. As the word suggests, a leader embodies values, they lead the way and influence others to follow. A manager is a role model for the business, setting an example to all staff of acceptable standards for performance and behaviour. For example, a manager that is regularly late for meetings can create precedence that this behaviour is acceptable. Equally a manager that treats customers with courtesy and respect sends out a strong message that such standards are expected of all staff.

For a new manager, it can be quite a surprise to realise that others now perceive them quite differently. Senior management are less tolerant of poor behaviour in their leadership team, who they view as the core body that represents the business. Where as previously you may have been a colleague, the same staff may now look to you for advice, for decisions, and as an example.

Particularly during difficult times, staff will look at your reaction to determine how they themselves should react. If a manager joins in with the office banter that an upcoming change is bad news, then this is a clear message to his or her staff to reject the change and behave in a similar manner. If, on the other hand, a manager is positive, focusing on benefits while being honest about any impacts, his or her staff will be more inclined to have a healthy and realistic attitude to the change.

Change in Responsibility

As with most career progressions, a move upward into management generally means more responsibility. This responsibility can be budgetary, more staff or more high-risk decision-making, or very likely all three.

For some, particularly those coming from more technical fields, such as Information Technology or Engineering, such a change in responsibility can seem daunting. A person’s role can change very dramatically from one that produces a lot of tangible outputs, to one that seems to deliver very little obvious results. That’s not to say the results that a manager produces isn’t important (as they are very necessary and essential), but a manager can have very little tangible evidence of a hard days work. Attending meetings, making decisions, delegating working, coaching staff, motivating teams: these are all very important activities of a manager, yet all produce very little paper at the end of the day. As a Manager it is important to now view your work rewards as more than tangible products.

Part of the Management Team

You may have been part of many teams throughout your career, but as a manager it is likely that you will now belong, not just to your own functional team, but also to another group, that which is jointly responsible for the running of the business. This can sometimes create conflicting priorities; a key management decision can be beneficial to the business as a whole, but detrimental to your function. One of the key skills of management is to be able to step back from a decision, understand the implications, weigh up the pros and the cons, and make or support a decision accordingly. This can sometimes place the manager in the difficult position of supporting a decision that is personally very difficult, for example, having to make his or her staff redundant.

Respect as a Manager

Respect is not something that automatically comes with the job title, but it is an absolute necessity if you are to become a successful manager. While you should strive to continue to earn the respect of others through your skills and ability to do your job well, respect as a manager also comes from others – your staff and the Management team - recognising your leadership skills.

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