Stepping up to a leadership position requires a unique set of abilities. In any new phase of growth, sheer determination can only take you so far. It is exceptional communication and a natural ability to respond to the challenge that will set you apart.
As a leader, you are responsible for your personal growth and the broader success and failure of the team. This can be a huge milestone in your career and an exciting opportunity to demonstrate your managerial qualities.
But what if you’re not ready to step it up? Shaky confidence, poor time management and gaps in your knowledge are clear signs that maybe it’s best to hold off. This isn’t a failure on you, just another step in the career journey. In the long run, it can be better to take the extra time to train as a team leader, before taking the plunge.
Read on to see some of the telltale signs you aren’t ready to lead – yet.
You Question Yourself
Managing a team is risky. It’s okay to have moments of self-doubt, but if you spend most of your time criticizing and negatively reviewing your work then it could hint at a much bigger problem.
Strong leaders need to be approachable. If a team member has a question, chances are they’ll look in your direction for the right answer. While no professional can claim to know all the ins and outs of a business, large gaps in your ability to confidently respond doesn’t inspire enthusiasm.
Teams need to rely on each other. As the leader, you are responsible for establishing open communication. If you question your capacity to carry out tasks often, then now might be the right time to step back and consider if you’re ready to lead.
You Aren’t A Team Player
Your work is your everything. How will you handle it when you need to share? Ambition is an admirable characteristic. It sets apart the good from the great but needs to be kept in check. Your desire to succeed should not negatively impact another employee. Individual success will mean nothing if your team fails by comparison.
Often, leadership is considered to be a solo display of strength. But behind every effective leader is a broad network of individuals working together to achieve a common goal. With united support, it would be difficult for any professional to achieve success. If you’re still too focused on your own career (which is completely acceptable) to take responsibility for others, be upfront about it.
You Don’t Know Enough
Knowledge really is power. Understand your role, the business structure and brand pillars before you think about stepping up to lead. This will boost your confidence, shape your professional character and provide a framework to follow as a trustworthy professional.
Adult learning is integral to career growth. A simple way to expand what you know and boost your skill set is to enroll in adult education courses. From the chance to learn project management online to people skills workshops after work, all within a friendly environment. Making the effort to cultivate an open mind will highlight your potential to lead within the business.
You Don’t Love Your Job
“I pour my passion and commitment into my job. I work long hours and am willing to take on the extra load to achieve.” Does this sound like you? Getting through the hard times will require vision and determination, sure. But more than that, you need to love your job. If you can’t say that you’re passionate about what you do, it might be time to switch your pathway.
Businesses are built on the dedication of their leaders. If you don’t have the sense of pride and belonging in the office that leads to innovative work, how can you expect the same of your team? This is a difficult lesson every manager will need to learn, before agreeing to a higher level of leadership.
You Don’t Have the Time
Work life balance isn’t at the top of the list for every professional. Maybe you like to spend the weeknights socializing and enjoying your hobby – not buried in documents and pivot tables. Does this mean that you shouldn’t take on a leadership role?
If you don’t have the time to guide, instruct and retain your team, then it could be best to decline the promotion for now. Leaders need to have the time to train and manage other professionals. Unfortunately, sometimes this isn’t during standard work hours.
No decision lasts forever, but giving up more of your time than you’d like could encourage you to resent your job. Stepping up to lead is a tough gig. Challenging and, like most things in life, it needs to come at the right time for you.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of The HR Gazette or its team members.