To manage or not to manage – decison making

This week, I need to clear my head more than ever. About three months ago, my manager opened up a position to hire a manager for our group. To this point, we have been reporting directly to him, a director in our company. He has wanted to hire a manager for quite a while, In fact, about a year ago, he got the OK, but then that requisition was taken away. At that time, I was not interested at all in being the manger and didn’t’ think much of it.

This time around, I thought more about it, but I didn’t know if he wanted  a person like me as a manager. I have no true manager experience and didn’t know what he was looking for. Of course, I could have applied and just saw what happened, but throwing your hat in the ring says something too, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to make a statement. This time, I did monition casually that I was considering applying. I wanted to put it out there just a little to test the waters. He didn’t really react one way or another, so I didn’t think about it much either. Well, over the past couple of weeks, I have put a lot more thought into it and have rally been struggling with the decision to apply or not.

Now, not to sound cocky, but the question in my mind is not whether I could do it. I know what the job would entail and I am already doing many aspects of it. There is also not a question of whether I would like management. For the most part, I realty like directing a team, making assignments, architecting, forming relationships with other teams, and so on. Also, I know what aspects of management I would not like: doing HR things, hiring people, doing budgets, doing performance reviews, going to all of the management type meetings, and worst of all, letting people go.

So, what do I do? This came to a head this week because my manager pretty much asked me if I were interested in the position. He spent over three hours this week on different occasions talking to me about it and giving me information. He expressed his confidence in me and thought I could do a good job.  He wasn’t promising me a job, but he made me feel like I might be a good fit, and by him asking, implied that he would like working with me as a manger. Well, this caused even more thought and turmoil. I have been an individual contributor my entire career and aspire to having my own company with employees. This might be the perfect opportunity for me to learn the ropes and gain experience.  Add to that my fear of who will get hired and be my boss if I am not the manager and the case is really compelling. I have had a boss or two before that I had a hard time working with and was really miserable and stressed. I always say that I care more who I work for than what project I am working on.

So, with all of these positives, plus the support from almost everyone I have mentioned this to, including my wife, what is stopping me? On paper it looks perfect and might be one of the last opportunities I get to do this for a company. Well, something is stopping me. I have no good reasons, but there is something that I just can’t identify. I have always tried when making decisions, especially big ones, to make the decision with my head and heart in agreement. This way, it makes logical sense and it feels right too. Well, I don’t’ always have this luxury and in cases where I do not, I work at it with my head and try to figure our why my heart feels the way it does. In a lot of cases, I get agreement if I work at it long enough, but sometimes it just never happens. In those cases I try to always go with my heart, and I can say that in most of these situations, I have not regretted it.

Wall, right now, this is where I am. My head says go for it; this is almost perfect. You’ll never have such an ideal situation again. But, my heart is saying don’t’ do it. This is not right for you. This will not lead to happiness. So, am I just scared and my heart is nervous, or is there something there? I am trying to figure this out. Part of the way I do this is to look at extreme situations; I call these boundary conditions. If something is true at a boundary, then it is certainly true inside the boundary. And it helps to look at the boundaries because things are often more obvious thee. For example, I thought of a situation that is reasonable, if I got laid off tomorrow and went and applied at another company for a job and they wanted a manager and wanted me, would I consider it? I think the answer in many situations would be yes. And in what situations would it not be yes? Well, maybe for a large company with lots of HR policies and things. So is this it, is this why I can’t apply? Well, I am still not sure. So, I am going to continue to look at where I think there are some boundary conditions and think through them this weekend. Hopefully, things will be a lot clearer in a few days.

Follow up

I ended up not applying for the pposition and  a really good person was hired.  As oi saw all of the things he had to go through with upper management and all of the politics, not caused by the manager that was hiring him, I am so glad I did not apply. Many other things came along later that further confirmed to me that I did the right thing. Whew!!!

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