I am kind of a manager, kind of a technical lead, kind of an architect for last couple of years in a software organization (managing team of 9 for about an year), but I am still not out of the dilemma of whether management is the right path for me.

Listening to your podcasts, and actually implementing some of the practices (one on ones, effective meetings etc.) and they are turning out to be very effective. I am convinced that with the objective approach, the practicle help provided at manager tools and practice, it is possible to do the job effectively.

However, in couple of your podcasts you have said that management is a boring, non sexy, routine kind of job.

I have a big career question before me - whether to become a full-fledged manager or continue on Technical stream.

My Technical background is pretty strong and I like it too, but my work does not need high technical skills.

What are the motiviations for becoming a manager Or, How can one (I) decide whether this is right thing for him (me) or not ?

I am really interested to get your views on this.

Thank you very much for the best podcast show on the globe for the aspiring managers

PierG's picture

thank you for your post.
I was exactly in your position and everyday I interview people in your position.
I don't have THE answer, I just say that after a certain amount of time you might become more interested in people than in techonolgy.
Management is more a matter of relationship and, even if is not the same for everyone, is somehow natural - in my opinion - to move your interests in that way.
My 2 euro - cents.

Mark's picture
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Well, there is the old saying (about the price of yachts, I think) that if you have to ask, you can't afford it. ;-)

When I say that management is boring and repetitive, I'm being a little facetious. I mean that the effective practice of management isn't inherently exciting to watch. Nobody wants to watch a movie about managers.

The analogy I like is the difference between volcanos and tectonic plates. Volcanos BLOW UP! They make movies about the drama associated with them. But the movement of our continents, inches per year/decade, is REALLY what causes IMPORTANT changes. I'm pretty sure all mountain ranges are caused by these forces... even Mt. Everest. The geologists say that "subduction leads to orogeny." Sounds sexy, but it just means that mountains are formed when one plate goes under another.

My point is just that if you want to be a HERO, if you want a job that is frantic and hectic and crazy with schedules and lots of last minute saves and you being in the spotlight, [b]you only get that if you do management poorly.[/b] Unfortunately, the vast majority of examples that people have nowadays are managers that are rewarded for saving projects (that they themselves didn't manage well, and they ended up in the ditch.)

The real question is whether or not you love working with other people. Do you love helping someone grow, and letting THEM be in the spotlight, and maybe never getting thanked for their improvements? Are you willing to be candid even when it hurts? Are you EXCITED ABOUT coaching your team members in private, hoping that they achieve their dreams?

Do you RELISH the idea of doing your homework and then quietly arrnaging the political capital to get a new project started? Can you tolerate being in conflict with others EVERYDAY, while also working with them closely?

Bottom Line: do you love the idea of working with people all the time, and making your life about them and their careers, and not about yours (knowing that if you make them successful, they will return the favor ten fold).

The motivations of becoming a manager are USUALLY to get promoted and get more money and more power. This is why there's a lot of bad management, because the achievement drive is largely an individual emotional state. Great management is about OTHERS.

The question is, do you love others? Is that your first thought? THAT will make you a GREAT manager.

Hope this helps.


hnene's picture

Your reply is really helpful (as I had expected it would be :wink: )

"do you love the idea of working with people all the time, and making your life about them and their careers, and not about yours (knowing that if you make them successful, they will return the favor ten fold)"

This is a very different perspective.

I think I'll like it... would like to give it a try

Thanks a lot for the guidance

Mark's picture
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That's why we're here! Glad we helped.


servantude's picture

Is there a particular podcast that will help with this? I've been an IT techie for 20 years and after listening to some of your podcasts about the basics of management, I believe that I might just be able to be a manager myself. I liked your comment in a previous post about types of power. The one that's needed to become a manger is relationships/influence. Unfortunately, I would classify myself as an introvert rather than an extrovert, which is going to make this harder. Is there a particular podcast that will help with this?

jhack's picture

"The solution to a stalled technical career"

It doesn't specifically address your question, but it's a good one.

Have you listened to all the DISC podcasts (especially the registered member ones)?

Introverts can be good managers. Some folks try it and like it, others discover it's not for them. There may be no way to know until you do it.


HMac's picture

Just to add 2 cents of perspective:

Nothing lasts forever - a long career includes a lot of different roles. And becoming a manager and director doesn't meaning you have to STAY in that role. I've moved back and forth between indivividual contributor, manager, director, SME - I enjoy all them them for certain aspects, and dislike each of them for certain aspects.

Whatever role you decide on, become REALLY good at it. And it will always be there as an option in the future.


EricGagnon's picture

 Wow!  Just to tell you that I found your comments really helpful! Especially Mark's comment, because I never though about management as "working for your directs' career". Really interesting!