Thursday, September 11, 2014

You Don’t Want to be the Boss?

CareerBuilder comes out with some fairly interesting surveys. And this recent one is no exception. It found that of 3,625 workers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, government and non-government); only 34% aspired to leadership roles. That’s a pretty low number. Why don’t people want to be the boss? A little more research came up with a Pew survey reported by Time that gives us some idea of why being the boss might not be all that attractive to some.

The Pew survey found that more than 75% of bosses consider their job a career, whereas less than half of workers do. Many of them look at their work as just a job, something to get them by. Yet others don’t want to put in the time and effort – and give up work/life balance – in order to reach that leadership level. They perceive it’s necessary to give up too much to get there.

Others may choose not to take on the responsibility of managing others, and want the luxury of leaving at 5 p.m. and not thinking about work till the next day.

Interestingly, the survey also found that that a little more than half of the workers polled think they’re adequately trained to do their jobs. But that means that a large chunk of people don’t feel they have the knowledge or skills they need to progress.

In my years of HR management, I have often had people say "I wouldn’t want your job!" That’s ok; there have been times when I didn’t want my job. But some of the reasons they gave are revealing:

  • You have to tell people they’re [not performing well, doing something wrong], etc.
  • You get blamed when your team doesn’t succeed, even if it’s not your fault
  • You have to say "no".
  • You have to fire people! *gasp*
  • Some people won’t like you.
  • You have to toe the company line, even if you don’t agree with it.
  • Everything you do or say is watched and seen by everyone.
But try to think about the flip side. Being in a management or supervisory position – being the boss – affords you some pretty exciting opportunities. It can give you the opportunity to shine, to show off your skills and talent. It gives you the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, while helping others to do the same. You can grow, develop and lead your team, and your organization to success (whether big successes or little ones). And you know what? That’s a pretty cool thing. That’s fun, and fulfilling. So, don’t let your perceptions of the possible "bad" things about being a boss hold you back from an experience that could be a really great opportunity. Take the steps, get the knowledge or skills you need, ask for help from your boss, take initiative. Be the boss.

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