Don’t like being a Manager

In this blog, I will talk about steps you can take when you are not able to decide whether to continue in a management role or not.

Srihari Udugani
Venture
5 min readFeb 21, 2024

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Photo by Asael Peña on Unsplash

Many new managers start disliking the management role due to various reasons. This leads to questioning whether the decision to take on a management role was right or wrong.

Such managers become desperate to come out of the role no matter the cost of going back to individual contributor roles.

During this period, manager efficiency is reduced which in turn impacts the team, and outcomes from the team will not meet the expectations of higher management.

In this blog, I will provide my thoughts on what managers can do when there is a dilemma about continuing in a management role.

The situation

Not everyone are manager from day 1. Each of us are individual contributor first and then we transition to a management role.

Not everyone becomes a better manager in a short time, for some, it will take a longer time, and for some even more time.

All managers face some or the other challenges during their initial days. These challenges are broadly either because environment of the company or the learning curve of that individual.

Following are the common problems that are faced by new managers due to the environment of the company.

  1. The transition to a management role was forced upon
  2. The company environment is too demanding, no time to settle down
  3. There is no training for managers regularly to help them
  4. There is not enough support from higher management
  5. There are no mentors within the company to guide

Below are a few common problems due to the way individuals cope with the role.

  1. The individual is not able to manage the pressure of the role
  2. The individual is not able to organize the work and guide the team
  3. The individual is not able to manage time appropriately
  4. The individual is not motivated enough to take on manager role
  5. The individual is not happy with less hands-on work

There could be many such problems that each of us has to face based on the environment of the company or that person’s way of coping with the new role.

All of these problems lead to the situation of not liking the management role.

The root cause

Without understanding the root cause of the problem, it is difficult to decide how to move forward.

To find the root cause, do an honest retrospection using the below-mentioned 5 questions.

Question to be answered for retrospection

▪ The question, Reasons to continue, will help to remind yourself of the actual reason why you got into a management role. It could be any reason, promotion, no other options, no technical growth.

▪ The question, Areas which need help, will give you an idea of where you must improve no matter which role you are in. This could be communication, presenting ideas better, talking to people, etc.

▪ The question, Feedback, will help you to remind yourself of the critical feedback that you have received from different people in the organization.

▪ The question, Team environment changes, will help to think through changes in the team environment that could help you to perform better. This could be replacing a few members, hiring replacements, defining processes, etc.

▪ The question, Company environment changes, will help to think through the changes in the company environment that could help you to perform better. This could be less pressure, better clarity, better transparency, better support from senior management, work from home, etc.

Retrospecting using the above areas, will make things clearer on the actual reasons that are causing you to think the management role is difficult.

What next?

Once you are done with your honest retrospection, pick up 1 reason from each of the questions that are most critical to you.

▪ For example, let’s say the reason you got into management is because you wanted to get a promotion with a higher salary. So, if you want to move out of management, then can you think of a feasible alternative?

▪ Another example is, let’s say you have got feedback multiple times to improve presentation skills. If so, then taking additional training on the topic will help you to become better at it.

▪ One more example could be, let’s say to improve the team environment, hiring backfills is needed. Then, having an open conversation with your supervisor will help you to fast-track the hiring. This will ensure that the environment improves and you can start showing positive results.

Identifying such key reasons that are causing you not to perform better or creating frustration, will help you to see that it might have nothing to do with the management role and that they are just changes or improvements that are needed.

Repeating this cycle multiple times and trying to resolve the critical reasons, will help you to see that the management role can become better over time and you can start enjoying it.

Final thoughts

Management role seems to be difficult at the start because it is. But, it is like any other role where you have to develop skills to excel.

My request to all new managers is to identify the root cause that is making to feel that the management role is difficult. Once you identify the reasons, it will be easier to find ways to solve them.

There is no doubt that the management role has more accountability and responsibilities when compared to other roles, but if you start enjoying it, then the role can help you achieve your aspirations of growth.

In case nothing improves or changes, then create a transition plan to go back to the individual contributor role gracefully.

But, if you want to continue in the management role then give it another shot. By using the 5-questions, find the top reasons that are making you inefficient or not being successful and try to work on it.

Happy management!

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Further reading

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Srihari Udugani
Venture

Knowledge Made Simple and Structured, Decisions Made Clear. Happy success!