When we think about it, you really have to be rock solid or a bit of a masochist to become a boss. Talk about unlucky.
You are preparing the next team meeting and next year’s budget when one of your key employees asks to see you ASAP. He hands you his resignation and made a clear-cut decision on an offer that he couldn’t refuse.
All you can do is put on a good smile and wish him luck. His reasons are valid, and thanks to your quality mentorship and coaching he gained expertise and improved himself. Another business sought him out, good for him. Now, you have three weeks to redistribute his workload, restructure the service organization, start the recruitment process, and integrate a new worker who will take—best case scenario—one year before being fully operational. At this exact moment, you start to envy your employees. If you are ever offered a boss position with a big salary, reflect on the painful parts of a boss’ life.
It is lonely at the top, ask anyone in management what they hate the most about this position and they will reply solitude. Managing a team means accepting being the one giving orders and there is no one to do it but you. No doubt your employees count on you for guidance. You decide what the objectives are and how to achieve them. When the moment to act comes, whatever the decision-making mechanism and employee participation, the decision belongs to you. You have to know how to decide without the freedom to share, exchange, or rely on other people.
The weight of responsibility, the burden is heavy, but we have confidence in you, we believe in you. However, you don't have the right to make a mistake or show weakness. Managers cannot be sick, have the blues, be indecisive, or risk looking like they lack leadership, vision or—at the worst—appear spineless.
You do all the dirty work like firing, punishing, and controlling, but, your team gets all the glory for making the company “business of the year.”
Result sanctioning, every month and quarter, you are judged. Orders have dropped? Stock prices have fallen? Profits have weakened? The figures speak for themselves, and you have to bail out. If you didn’t see the crisis coming, the change in dollar value, or if you weren’t able to surround yourself with the best, that’s too bad for you. While you are asked to evaluate your employees according to their skills, you are judged on your figures. Maybe it isn’t fair, but that’s the reality.
Sandwiched between the expectations of management, the executive committee, the board of directors, and the needs of your team. You cannot explain everything, but we won’t forget to reproach you for lacking transparency and stonewalling us. At risk of losing your job or credibility, it is impossible to choose a side. In the end, you are the ham between the bread and you can’t find a slice of cheese to support you.
The loss of expertise, managing a group requires being more strategic and taking a step back and distancing yourself from the work. You give up the very essence of your profession by becoming a manager. IT developers no longer program; they plan projects, sellers no longer meet clients; they establish sales objectives, actors no longer act; they direct films, and so on.
It’s good to think carefully and be sure of yourself before taking this step. If the pressure to bring yourself to accept becoming a team leader is too much, turn the promotion down and tell yourself that turning down a promotion is as courageous as becoming the boss, you might sleep better at night. Next month, I will give you some good reasons to accept a promotion, I promise.