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I regret becoming a manager

I hear this a lot. A lot.

There's a common belief that the only way up is to manage others. Once promoted, the reality hits that managing people is often hard, messy, and frustrating. Worse, you have less time to do what you liked doing that got you the management role. Work was so much easier when you only had to get your job done. Of course, it involved a fair bit of project-based management of others, but for the most part, you drove your work. Simples.

UNHELPFUL BELIEF: To get ahead in my career I have to become a line manager (even if I'm not that keen on managing others). 

DATA: Gallup research "One in two employees have left their job to get away from their manager at some point in their career." Yup, I've quit for that reason, and I've done it more than once.


  1. You don't have to be a manager of people, you can spend longer being a specialist in your chosen field. Develop skills that help you shine as an expert. Then maybe in 5-10 years from now revisit the pros and cons of managing others - perhaps with a bit more humility on what it takes to create a great team and a bit more clarity on what skills you still need to develop to be a better leader.

  2. Rather than fight for a line manager role, why not learn how to delegate well, coach others well, and give feedback well today... to anyone including your boss, without the manager title? Everyone wants to be trusted and respected, to be treated fairly, and to be heard, so practice building skills that do just that, and help you be a standout colleague, before falling into Gallup's 50%. (I think that stat is an underestimation.)

  3. If you must be a manager, and you think it can't be that hard, acknowledge that you've just made management mistake #1, and instead make a great management decision by negotiating for management training and coaching. 


Become a manager because you have an inspiring vision for your organisation and you need to maintain a team of motivated, engaged, and trusted colleagues to help you achieve it, not because you want a pay rise or recognition.


  1. Pick one thing that you struggle to do consistently well or not at all:-

    1. delegate and get back what you had wanted

    2. give feedback

    3. receive feedback

    4. listen

    5. not take things personally

    6. coach a colleague...

  2. Push for management training and/or coaching.


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