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How To Tell If People Management IS For You


Just because you are doing exceptionally in your current job doesn’t mean you are ready to take on a managerial position. It also does not mean that your career path is only in the individual contributor career track. You won’t really know if you are a good people manager, unless you really start managing a team, but if you have the following traits, that’s a great start.


(Photo Credit: Kumar Appaiah/Flickr)

1. You know your stuff/are a very fast learner

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As a people manager, you are expected to lead your employees through their and the company’s goals. To know and guide them in their work, you need to first understand their work. If you are growing from within the organization, then knowing your job well means knowing how to answer the questions that your team may have. If you are joining from outside the organization, you need to have the capacity to learn fast.

2. You are not an information hoarder

OK, granted there are times when you need to keep information confidential, but even when it is not so, some people like to keep their cards close to their chest – very close. If you are not insecure about sharing information, and you solicit inputs from your colleagues in getting the job done, then you may be able to also take a collaborative approach to managing people.

3. You have a good working relationship in your organization

While you believe getting your work done is important, you don’t hesitate to help others do their job well. You work well in teams and enjoy their trust and support. Your peers respect and trust your judgement. You are also approached as a mentor/coach/guide.

4. You are able to get the team to work together

On projects that are assigned, you are resourceful enough to find the people who would be able to contribute to the project and are able to get them to work together. This also means that you are able to identify the strengths and contributions of your colleagues.

One of the biggest skills in the corporate world is the ability to influence without authority. So, even if you are not the manager, if you are able to convince your project team to work together, and are able to help resolve conflicts without too much bad blood, maybe people management comes pretty easily to you.

5. You get the bigger picture

Some people just get it. If you are not too caught in the details, and can see the bigger impact of your project/job on your team/business’s goal, you are perhaps able to easily see the big picture. That’s a very essential skill when you take on a leadership role – the ability to understand and see the connection between goals and their impact.

6. You know how, when, where and what to communicate

Ensuring that what you mean is what you say, and that what you say is what is understood is not always an easy task, especially if you are dealing with people with different personalities and backgrounds. Knowing how to communicate is as important a skill as actually communicating. Different forums require different tactics for communication. Knowing when to have a one-one discussion, when to make an announcement, when to send an email, etc., is a very important skill to have when managing people.

7. You are able to help others in their career

People management requires a lot of maturity. You are not only responsible for your own career, you are also making an impact on somebody else’s career. If that’s something you can commit to and know that you will be able to invest time and effort in developing others, and in building a competent team, then by all means, people management is the way to go.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever moved from an individual contributor to a people manager? What made you want to make a switch? How has the transition been? We want to hear from you. Join the discussion on Twitter, or leave a comment below. 

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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