So, You Want To Become A Manager?

It’s a Big Step to Move into Management. Here Are Some of the Pros and Cons.

Recently, I was asked by a company vice president to talk to an hourly plant employee about moving into management. The vice president felt like the guy could do the job really well and would move up in the company. He had been trying to convince the employee to make the move and thought my influence might help the situation.

I got some time with the hourly employee and talked to him about the potential he had in management and how he was feeling about it. He told me that he appreciated the consideration, but becoming a supervisor would reduce his pay, cause him more stress and alienate him from his co-workers. He was a long-term union employee and felt a bond with his buddies and felt like he would not do well being their boss. For him, becoming a manager was more negative than positive.

If you are considering moving into management as a career, there are certainly downsides as well as upsides. I have listed below some of the pros and cons for you to consider:

Pros of becoming a manager:

  • More money in the long run. For many hourly employees, moving into management means taking a hit in the paycheck with the reduced overtime and high hourly wage for a veteran employee. Over time, that difference will diminish and your pay as a manager will be greater over time.
  • More variety of work. For managers, work is ever changing. There are personnel issues, scheduling issues, project issues, purchasing issues, production and quality issues, to name a few. There is something new every day.
  • More exposure to decision-makers. Managers find themselves in situations where senior managers are more aware of who they are and their potential. Getting involved in many different projects gives increased visibility and further opportunities for advancement.
  • More power. Managers have a great deal of influence of how, and what, decisions are made in the workplace. This gives the individual more power in the organization. Being asked to use your personal judgment is a sign of trust.
  • Increased autonomy. When a person moves into management, he/she is expected to work more on their own than when they were hourly. This provides more freedom in how they use their time and how they set priorities.
  • Greater job satisfaction. When managers have more decision making power, more variety, more autonomy, more visibility, and more money, job satisfaction increases. We all want to feel like we are contributing in big ways, and being a manager allows that.

Cons of becoming a manager:

  • Less money at first. When a senior hourly employee moves into management, there is typically a reduction in take-home pay. Be prepared to adjust your lifestyle, as your income will go down without overtime pay.
  • More stress. As a manager, you will have greater responsibility which may cause more stress than you had as an hourly employee. You will be expected to make good decisions quickly, which some people struggle with.
  • People issues. Managers are inundated with people issues. I once heard a manager say “this would be a great place to work if it wasn’t for the people.” Being a manager is sometimes like being a psychologist and some people do not like babysitting adults.
  • Politics. One of the realities of management is dealing with company politics. It is a fact of life. Others will try to take advantage of you and use power behind your back. Scapegoating, passing the buck, and throwing people under the bus are real and something you must deal with.
  • Less feedback. As you move up the ladder, you get less and less feedback on how you are doing your job. Your boss will struggle to give you information on your performance, and your employees certainly will not tell you.
  • Alienation. Oftentimes, when an hourly employee moves into management, they become alienated from the people they worked with for years. As a manager, you need to expect this and you will have to maintain a certain distance from employees in order to be effective.
  • Your mistakes are magnified. As you make more decisions and impact more areas, your mistakes become more evident to senior managers and have a greater negative impact on your organization. It takes a great deal of self-confidence to handle this.

Those are just a few of the things to consider if you want to become a manager. Becoming a leader takes a bit of an ego, a lot of self-confidence, and resilience. Leading people is incredibly rewarding if you are willing to make it your chosen career.

Steve Schumacher is a management consultant, trainer and public speaker with more than 25 years of experience in numerous industries throughout North America, including aggregates operations. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..