Published: 24 March 2018
People managing is tough and often isolating work in our industry but it comes with a few perks that can make it seem attractive, even momentarily, like money and status. The truth is that people managing isn’t for everyone but the good news is, there are other ways to achieve new levels in your recruitment career without locking yourself into a job you don’t enjoy. We have outlined some food for thought to help you identify and carve your best path at work:
1. Attempt Clarity from The Start
Ask about career trajectory in your interview and what other possible paths your role can extend into. If the role eventually leads to management without exception, you may want to consider whether the role is right for you. It can be hard to stay motivated if the end position you are striving for isn’t in alignment with your strengths and/or career goals. It’s better to find out early on and adjust your plans accordingly.
2. Communicate Regularly
Be upfront that management isn’t one of your current career goals in every performance review possible. The truth is, your boss may see potential in you and may be grooming you for a management position behind the scenes. By being deliberate and vocal about the types of roles that appeal to you (and those that don’t) when a promotion is eventually offered, you won’t have to hide your disappointment or reluctantly accept out of obligation. Instead, you will have an important leg to stand on should you decide to decline.
3. Decipher what’s most important: promotion, raise, or flexibility
Sure a promotion to Management can give you an elevated status but there can be alternative ways to feel a boost at work. Some of you may prefer to keep a less glitzy title and continue to receive regular raises for work well done within that role, even if that means that you’re an Account Manager for 10+ years. Others may be drawn to additional flexibility perks that are offered to part-time consultants like the ability to set your own hours or work from home. Only you can determine what will bring you lasting happiness in your role. Over time needs may change, and that’s okay too. The key is to be routinely aware of what motivates you and to communicate before you’re checked out.
4. Consider What’s On The Other Side
Even if you have always felt opposed to a role in management, there is no real disadvantage to trying it on for size. Like most roles, it offers the ability to grow and the skills are mostly transferable. It can provide you with a sense of security and push you outside of your comfort zone both professionally and interpersonally which can be quite energising if you’ve gotten comfortable or worse, complacent in your current role. It’s okay to voice your vulnerabilities and concerns around the role you’re being offered if it’s something you haven’t done before. Doing so may allow for the opportunity to take on additional training or courses or set a trial period to test the fit.
5. Blaze A New Trail
If you are looking for new avenues to pursue outside the corporate hierarchy, explore boutique firms. Often times they are more modern and offer a flat leadership style compared to the standard pecking order offered at larger organisations. Seek out companies that emulate your workplace values and where you can see an immediate future. Don’t feel obligated or trapped by the need to fit into what seems like a progressive move with a company consumed by the status quo. By mustering up a bit of courage and taking a risk, you are likely to find the type of position that syncs up nicely with your core values and lifestyle which can pay off in triplicate down the line.
When all is said and done it can be quite useful to explore personality tests like Myers Briggs to see where your greatest strengths lie on a team. If you are highly competitive, motivated by results, you are in control of and feel the most productive as independent producer - managing may not be for you. To avoid feeling lured by the the opportunity even when we know it isn’t suited to our skill-set, it can be valuable and productive to spend the time examining your contributions and assets in advance and to then carve your path accordingly.