7 Signs You Aren’t Ready to Manage

Managers are hard working, determined individuals with exceptional communications and leadership skills. As well as being responsible for their own output, managers work to get the most out of their team in order to put the company in the best possible position moving forward.

A distinct step above team member roles, the higher paycheck comes with the expectation of longer hours and a bigger commitment to the company. For some, the promotion is a welcome advance, but for those who feel underprepared, it can be a somewhat sudden leap. If you find yourself ticking a few of the below boxes, then it may be that the position is not suited to your skills and traits.

You Second Guess Yourself

Managers are required to make decisions and stick to them, carrying out projects or managing teams from conception through to delivery. In order to boost confidence within a team, and indeed the broader company, managers require a level of conviction in their ability to make well-considered decisions backed up by hard facts.

You Put Yourself First

While ambition and self-determination may have helped you to be offered a promotion, managers must have the ability to look out for the whole team rather than just themselves. A good leader knows that the most success comes from an effective network of employees working in harmony. A team is only as strong as its weakest link. It is often the case that those eager to climb the career ladder will accept a leadership role for the wrong reasons. Being a manager requires a level of maturity which is simply not consistent with focusing solely on personal growth.

You’ve Lost the Desire to Learn

Effective managers come from a robust knowledge base after some time with the same company, and seek to build on that understanding. They must constantly learn new skills, keep on top of industry trends and push their team to do the same. For those that don’t enjoy regular adult training and development, or who think that they know it all, a management position will be short lived. An active desire to participate in short courses or adult learning programs inspires the same driven mindset in those around you and ultimately helps the company to be at the forefront of the industry.

You See it as Just a Job

By taking on a major role in driving an organisation forward, managers must truly believe in the work that they do. While team members may be able to more clearly separate work and life, managers are expected to put in more hours for the good of the company, rather than purely for financial gain. A sense of purpose is important in any job, and for managers especially. Both the successes and failures of the team will be largely attributed to how you organised a project, and so the role requires a person who is committed to delivering the best possible outcome.

You’re Pressed for Time

Juggling a full-time career with a personal life can be enough of a struggle without the added pressure of a management position. If you find that you’re exhausted at the end of the working week, or struggle to get out of bed on a Monday morning, then a more demanding position will only add to the problem. The increase in hours, stress, and management of a team of people, all contribute to making some serious compromises.

It’s Not Your Career Goal

For those who enjoy the regular paychecks of a full-time job but would one day like to pursue a different career, a management position may not satisfy. Management involves taking on some of the less glamorous aspects of work, such as rostering, delegating, drafting proposals and some high-level decision making. If you’re not passionate about a future in the industry, then these tasks can seem more like chores.

You Don’t Like Change

While managers do need to adhere to their decisions, this is not to say that they should be entirely inflexible. Throughout the journey of a project, things may change and adapt the trajectory may be necessary. Each decision made should be well-researched and communicated clearly, so that any questions can be clarified with confidence. Accepting a management position will involve a big shift in your job requirements, and the move can prove overwhelming for those not comfortable with change.


Declining a management position because you’re not suited to it is far from a failure. In fact, it demonstrates a degree of self-awareness that many employees don’t possess. Forcing a square peg into a round hole will only end with you resenting your decision, and giving up on the parts of life that you truly enjoy.

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Helen Sabell

Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning, and she is passionate about adult learning. She has developed and authored many workplace leadership programs, both in Australia and overseas.