What Nobody Will Tell You About Being a Manager
By Beth Braccio Hering, Special to CareerBuilder
Think being the one in charge is all about delegating unwanted tasks and getting a cool office? Before yearning for a higher title, keep in mind these things that also go hand-in-hand with increased responsibilities.
"You have to wear the company badge of honor, even if you don't agree with the decisions made above you. New managers (and even some not-so-new managers) struggle with not being in the position of always saying what they think. For example, if the company makes a decision that impacts your department that you don't agree with, you have little choice but to carry out the orders."
-- Roberta Chinsky Matuson, author of "Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around."
"Everyone suddenly assumes you're stupid -- especially just after a promotion when a new manager is faced with supervising a group of people who used to be her peers. It's amazing how many employees think they know how to run things better than you, even though most of them lack the same perspective that a manager has to base her decisions on. Containing that attitude and building respect and trust while maintaining employee morale is challenging."
-- Cathy Ward, owner of BridesVillage.com, an online retailer of wedding accessories.
"No one tells you that being a manager means that you will be the topic of someone's dinner conversation, and the people at that table influence how the employee responds to you."
-- John Klymshyn, author of "The Ultimate Sales Managers' Guide."
"You're responsible for the people on your team, and you can't control what they do. Given that you don't have the bandwidth to watch over their shoulders constantly (nor should you), there will be times that mistakes get made. When that happens, you don't have the luxury of saying, 'That wasn't my fault.' Ultimately, when you're a manager, you are accountable for all of your reports' actions."
-- Tony Pham, vice president of marketing for the mobile family safety company Life360.
"By far, the most difficult thing about managing others is firing someone, especially for performance-related reasons. You always wonder what else you could have done to make things turn out differently, even if you've exhausted all of your options, including working with the employee to create and implement an individual development plan. The emotional toll associated with firing can have long-term, lasting effects for everyone involved, and it may take a while for all parties to recover."
-- Steve Moore, manager at Insperity, a human resources and business solutions provider.
"When you manage people, you learn more about them than you'd prefer to know. I've become overly aware of allergies, marital issues, mental health issues and temptations of both my employees and their families."
"As part of the management team, your workload is greater. In addition to the everyday tasks, you are required to complete reports, reviews and departmental/company mandates. As an employee, you may be asked to attend a meeting, seminar or conference. As the boss, you may be required to coordinate, sponsor and run it. You could be called upon to complete any task, whether or not it is a part of your job description. Many managers are exempt employees, so regardless of whether you work an 8-hour day or 18-hour day, your pay for the day remains the same."
-- Chantay Bridges, senior real estate specialist, Clear Choice Realty & Associates, Los Angeles
"No one tells you that interviewing and selecting employees takes more than just sitting across the desk from someone and asking them questions and then using your gut to guide you. They don't tell you that if you hire someone with the best skill to do the job you won't necessarily be hiring someone who will do a great job because it takes more than just job skills to succeed. They don't tell you what those others things are that you need to know to hire highly motivated employees. And if you don't hire the best, they don't tell you how much harder your job as a manager is going to be."
-- Carol Quinn, founder of Hire Authority, a Florida-based educational services organization.
"You know the people gossiping, whispering and snickering at the water cooler? Guess what, they're talking about you! You are always on stage. Your employees look to your actions to learn what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable."
-- Anne Pritchard Grady, president of Acclivity Performance, an organizational development firm based in Austin, Texas.
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Beth Braccio Hering researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for CareerBuilder. Follow @CareerBuilder on Twitter.
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