Is it too simplistic to assert that reaching a management position is the only measurable demonstration of professional achievement or a sign of success?
Up until now, so much of the literature and studies produced and conducted on issues surrounding management would suggest that reaching a position of responsibility, is considered to be a sign of success.
However, there seems to be a new school of thought emerging, one that would suggest that we are adapting our outmoded views.
For years, the term management has been synonymous with social status and high earnings. Yet, over the last quarter of a century, it has become less well defined; people now manage projects rather than teams, processes rather than people.
Therefore, the ambiguity of its meaning means that the previous social parameters of management have become somewhat blurred, and so, thankfully, has the stigma surrounding those who do not “fulfil” their potential and become managers.
Not everyone is destined to manage. In a modern and accepting society, there is a general appreciation of the fact that not everyone is the same. Previously, the viewpoint on those who did not become managers was that they had underperformed, not realised their potential or were even unambitious.
Thankfully, these antiquated ideas do not hold much substance nowadays; people are beginning to understand that evolution, growth and success within an organisation or role can be measured in a variety of different ways.
Increasingly, people are beginning to consider management to be a profession in its own right. Organisations have learned that if an employee demonstrates aptitude and high performance within a specific role or function, they will not necessarily translate these hard skills competently when placed in a management position.
This should be considered to be progressive both in its pragmatism and foresight. Ultimately encouraging someone to move into a management position, knowing that they don’t have the soft skills to be successful within that role, will only backfire.
For many, the idea of increased responsibility or being required to delegate tasks is not something that comes naturally. Therefore, recognising that some employees do not have the required disposition to lead is becoming an increasingly integral.
It’s up to managers and HR departments to value the skills of each employee and to put practices in place that recognise the individual contributions people make.
Leadership is an art. Some people are good at and enjoy it. Others aren’t. Appreciating, understanding and most importantly of all, accepting that not everyone has the same professional goals or targets will inevitably mean that organisations can recruit and nurture managers who actually want to be there.