What does it take to be a manager?

What does it take to be a manager

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to taking on a managerial role.

Many organisations elevate the top performing employees into management positions as these individuals are often regarded as the trusted experts in their area. Unfortunately, by promoting an individual who hasn’t developed the right skill set and experience to navigate the management playing field, an organisation can end up with an ineffective manager and a demoralised team.

So what do you need to know before you take the critical step into management?

To be a manager: know what’s expected of you as a manager

While the offer of an impressive title and increased salary package is tempting, moving into management takes some careful consideration. Looking past the immediate gains, there are some potential costs, such as longer working hours and increased daily pressure. For some individuals, the costs won’t be worth the benefits.

Ask yourself these questions before stepping up into a management role:

- Will I enjoy leading a team?
- Am I willing to confront people about their behaviour or performance?
- Am I comfortable making decisions?

If you don’t feel ready to tackle the above scenarios, or feel you’re more motivated by being an exceptional individual performer rather than banking everything on a broader team, a managerial role might not be the best fit for you. Alternatively, you may decide that being a manager simply isn’t part of your personal career goals.

To be a manager: what are employers looking for?

If you decide you are ready to step up and prove yourself to be an effective leader, you’ll need to show your boss that you’re ready to take on the additional responsibility. This is especially the case if you don’t have previous experience in a managerial position. Here are some of the skills employers are looking for in their management team:

Soft skills – when it comes to hiring an effective manager, most employers are looking for soft skills as much as serious technical qualifications and abilities. You can be the top performer in your team, but if you’re not a particularly good listener or you don’t buy into the company vision, you’ll be much less likely to be given managerial responsibilities. Other important soft skills include time management, negotiation, teamwork, delegation and communication.

Leadership – one of the most important soft skills a manager should have is the ability to inspire, direct and lead others. A good leader leads his or her team towards a particular goal or vision, guiding them through challenges and hurdles to achieve a clear objective. Creativity, magnanimity and even a good sense of humour are all traits that can assist you to become an effective leader.

Business acumen and administrative understanding – you don’t need to be an accountant to become a manager. However, team managers do need to demonstrate an understanding of administrative processes and basic financial models because they are usually responsible for budget allocations. Budget management also involves working with other teams and departments to complete projects and meet deadlines, so will impact the output of your broader team.


Having a clear understanding of these factors will give employers confidence in your ability to make the move into management and look after a critical component of their business – the employees.


Peter Smith
Managing Director of Michael Page in Shanghai

This article was originally published on Michael page Greater China Blog