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Not All Employees Are Ready (& Willing!) To Become A Manager

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It's a common scenario: A manager rewards a top employee with a promotion to a supervisory role.  The employee struggles in their new role, and the manager doesn't understand why their once shining star has suddenly dimmed. The problem often lies in the fact that the manager has not taken into consideration that not all employees — no matter how well they perform their current jobs — have what it takes, including the desire, to be "management material."


According to Randstad's 2009 World of Work survey, of the more than 3,000 respondents, 51% did not aspire to become a manager.  The top reasons cited for not wanting to become a manager included increased stress, handling disgruntled employees, increased paperwork, and having to terminate employees.


Besides having the desire to be a supervisor, an employee who is being considered for a promotion to a supervisory position should also exhibit these other traits.

  • Is a people person and has good people skills. Someone who prefers working alone all the time won't cut it.
  • Shows initiative and is self-motivated.
  • Is dependable. Do they do what they say they're going to do?  Do you trust them? 
  • Exhibits leadership abilities. Some people naturally step up and take charge, while others prefer to stay in the background.  Important: Don't confuse a quiet demeanor with a lack of leadership skills.  It's not about being front and center at all times; it's about demonstrating that they can effectively take control of a situation when it counts and leading by example.
  • Takes risks. The employee must not be afraid to be put in difficult situations and tackle challenges.
  • Handles conflict directly and professionally. An employee who avoids conflict at all costs will either hate being a supervisor or will not be very effective at it (or, most likely, both).  Dealing with conflict is unavoidable in a management position, whether it involves mediating a conflict between two employees, managing an obstinate employee, appeasing an unhappy customer, or working out a disagreement with a higher-up.  If they typically deal with conflict by screaming, swearing, bullying, etc., you'll probably want to give them a pass.
  • Multi-tasks well. 
  • Is a good teacher. This entails having not only good communication skills, but also genuine enjoyment in helping others.  Good sign: The employee's peers turn to him/her when they have questions. 
  • Isn't afraid to make decisions. An indecisive supervisor is an ineffective one. 
  • Is adaptable. Beware of individuals who have difficulty changing their minds or accepting criticism.
  • Wants to keep learning. A manager with a "know it all" attitude will not be liked or respected.
  • Has integrity.

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