If you’re a manager — or want to become one — it’s wise to understand the challenges that come with the role. But don’t let them discourage you. Leading others isn’t easy, but it is rewarding. For great bosses, it can be a genuine joy.
Let’s look at five key rewards of management.
You were promoted to management because you demonstrated strength in some — or many — aspects of your craft. The organization’s leadership now looks to you to take that knowledge and talent to new levels: improving the product as well as the people. But you’re far more than an in-house expert in your former area of specialty. You’re a continuous learner about your industry and its future, your people and their needs, plus the fiscal, legal, technical, political and social aspects of leadership.
2. You have the power to build a workplace culture.
Imagine. Whether you’re leading a small team or a big organization, you can shape “the way we do things around here.” But, as MIT’s Edgar Schein teaches, culture is so much more. It’s structure and process, systems and relationships. It’s the heroes we tell stories about and the villains we strive to vanquish. It’s assumptions so deep people take them for granted. Great bosses build cultures in which the values on the mission statement are more than words; they’re values in action. An observer who never read that statement could watch the team at work and easily discern what’s valued — and why.
3. You help people succeed.
Where once you defined success through your own accomplishments, now you measure it through the growth of others. Your coaching, feedback and mentoring pay off as your team members reach their goals and yours. You set standards, evaluate performance, hire for talent and values, and celebrate wins. As you help people depend less and less on you for decisions, you get the satisfaction of watching them do the right thing, time and again. It’s a great feeling.
4. You craft strategy and guide execution.
This is exciting work: scouting for opportunities, anticipating challenges, identifying necessary changes. While you keep an eye on today’s work, you focus on the bigger picture. What’s next? What’s better? What do customers want and how do we deliver it? Then you help turn the strategy into action. There’s satisfaction in building a playbook and positioning your team for wins.
5. You manage meaning.
I saved this for last because it is so very important. Great bosses put things in perspective. They find the right words to celebrate victories, recover from setbacks, or crank up enthusiasm. They calm fears or sound appropriate alarm bells. They put form to feelings and make it safe for people to talk about things that matter. There are many ways to look at any situation, and some of those views can be counterproductive. Your people look to you to frame things credibly, helpfully, and yes, inspirationally. That’s your role, responsibility and reward as a leader.
I hope this list reminds you why you chose to be a manager and why these rewards outweigh the naturally occurring headaches that also come with the job. In addition to savoring these rewards, there’s another way to know if you have what it takes to be a great boss. It comes in the answer to three questions I’ll ask you in today’s podcast.
Poynter’s “What Great Bosses Know” podcast is sponsored by The City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. You can download a complete series of these podcasts free on iTunesU. Poynter’s leadership and management expert Jill Geisler shares practical information on leadership and management that’s valuable for bosses in newsrooms and all walks of life.