It can be lonely at the top – something that newly minted managers often find out. Sure, you might work your whole life hoping to eventually be a manager. And then sometimes you get there and realize that it’s not what you were expecting.
Here are four things to expect when you become a manager that might come as a surprise.
1. You have to set a good example. Think being a manager means you can set your own schedule and come in when you want? Think again. Being a manager means you have to show the behavior that you want your subordinates to emulate. Whether it’s the hours you keep, the effort you expend, the image you show or the positive attitude you display, never forget that others are watching you — and you are setting the standard.
2. Your relationships will change. Were you always buddy buddy with the team? If you are promoted to management, that relationship will change in many ways. For one thing, you now are the one who is setting the expectations and offering performance reviews. So you have to make sure that your team is performing to expectations or you won’t be a manager for long! And if you were already on this team when you were promoted, remember there might be some jealousy or hard feelings from the others. Though you would expect they would be on your side –and hopefully that’s true — remember there may be some who feel overlooked and are not wishing you the best.
3. You have to make the tough calls. Sure, it’s easy to complain about the person who’s making you stay late or travel. Or the one who says that you can no longer expense lunches or drink free coffee in the office. But, now that “someone” is you, and all of a sudden you start realizing that it’s you everyone is complaining about. The truth is that managers do need to make tough decisions and you might not always be popular. But if you are doing what’s best for your department, just remember that your decisions are for the good of the whole, not just one individual.
4. The buck stops with you. All of a sudden you will be evaluated in a whole new way. No longer can you do your part and go home — the whole team’s performance is a reflection on you and often that means you have to pick up the slack. Or get rid of a slacker. You are liable to be judged on things that seem outside of your control — sales are down because of the economic realities in the marketplace, but your boss doesn’t want to hear that. She wants to know about your plan to turn it around. When things are going right, your team will get much of the credit. And when things are going wrong, you probably will take the blame.
Management has a lot of perks from increased responsibility to new and exciting challenges. Knowing what’s ahead and how to prepare for it will ensure that your rise up the ladder is smooth.