Finance Work Want the top job? How to tell if you’re management material
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Want the top job? How to tell if you’re management material

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Who among us has not dreamed of one day being promoted to the top job?

Being the boss may involve increased responsibility, but it does come with a considerable number of privileges — extra money, autonomy and the ability to make decisions that have a real impact.

But as anyone who has ever labored under a disorganised superior will know, not all managers are great leaders. The New Daily asked the experts how to tell if you are cut out to be the boss.

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Work on self-awareness

Call it emotional intelligence, wisdom or street smarts – if you don’t have the ability to read people and divine what inspires them, you will not be a great manager.

“You need to know who you are and what you stand for, as people will respond to that and respect it,” says Regional Assessment Solutions Manager for Asia Pacific at Hudson Recruitment, Dr Crissa Sumner.

It is not important to be liked by staff – in fact, there is nothing worse than a boss who tries to be everyone’s mate – but staff should nevertheless respect their leader.

“If you focus on being liked one minute and then try and be the boss the next, people will struggle to find you genuine,” says Dr Sumner.

“It is more important to focus on having good relationships.”

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Dr Sumner has seen many workers climbing their way up the corporate ladder only to be derailed by “overplaying their strengths”.

“The classic case is the person with a high-achievement drive,” she says.

“While that initial fire is fantastic, a boss who expects that level of performance constantly is going to burn out their staff.

“What makes you a high-performing sole contributor will not necessarily make you a good manager.”

Be flexible and innovative

Businesses are fluid operations they days, frequently changing strategies and innovating to stay ahead.

Permanent Recruitment Director of General Staffing at Adecco, Stephen Flanagan, says good managers are as flexible and adaptable as the business environment.

“It helps if you are flexible and able to move interstate, or even to Asia, if the role requires it,” says Mr Flanagan.

“Worker mobility is a big deal these days as companies’ business priorities are always shifting.”

Which makes it all the more important for workers to be led by someone who is “engaged with the values of the business”.

“You need to align yourself with the values of the company and then proceed from there,” says Mr Flanagan.

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Not everyone is management material. Photo: Shutterstock

“As soon as staff do not have an engaged leader it flows throughout the entire office, and people will often leave a business because of a bad boss.”

Dr Sumner says managers should also be willing to challenge the status quo to keep pace with the competition.

“I know people mention Apple endlessly, but look at the way they are constantly innovating,” she says.

“A good leader is thinking 10 years ahead and is at the forefront of change.”

Check yourself

Of course, leadership isn’t for everyone.

Managing staff is difficult, and leaders can often feel sandwiched between the demands of the company and those of their staff.

“The so-called soft skills are really the hard stuff,” says Dr Sumner.

“It is fairly easy to pick up the technical requirements of a job, but it is a lot harder to master those so-called soft skills.”

Both Dr Sumner and Mr Flanagan recommend workers audit their own motivations for wanting the top job.

“You have to ask yourself why you want to be a leader,” says Dr Sumner.

“If it is about status or to get more money or have power then it is not for you.

“Being a leader is about making an impact and it’s about people.”

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Work hard, play hard: our guide to high achieving
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