A recent Pew Research Center survey found that managers are more satisfied with their family life, jobs and overall financial situation than non-managerial employees. However, despite all that, more respondents said they would not want to be a boss or top manager–43% vs. 39%.
Pew Research Center did not explore the reasons behind their findings so I’d like to explore these two findings a little deeper. Specifically: 1) Other than getting paid more, why are bosses more happy than non-managerial workers? Isn’t it more stressful to be a manager than it is to be an individual contributor? 2) If being a manager is overall more satisfying, why did so many people say they did not want to become a boss someday?
1) Other than getting paid more, why are bosses more happy than non-managerial workers? Isn’t it more stressful to be a manager than it is to be an individual contributor?
It’s not the title, it’s the attitude and mindset.
People that feel in control of their professional development and career growth are normally more happy than people who feel that they are not empowered to decide their own destiny. People that feel they can design their own career direction and take full responsiblity for their professional develoment – are often more happy then people that wait for someone else to decide their career path.
People that feel empowered are normally those who advance up the technical or managerial corporate ladders. They feel free to slightly deviate from the assigned tasks to accomplish the essence of the goal via an even better solution – one which increases company revenue, limits costs, or reduces time to market. They take on assignments above their grade-level and business network with sibling departments and other managers. They market their skills, proposals and services to others outside their immediate group. They make sure to offer their assistance outside the company through professional organizations and associations. People that have bigger career plans beyond their current position are often happier because they have the Big Picture and vision in mind.
People that are only focused on keeping their current job and not rocking the boat, often stay as individual contributers. They stay focused on doing their assigned tasks, properly. They feel that they are doing everything that is b
eing asked of them and often work late and weekends to complete their assigned tasks. They mistakenly believe that doing excellent work in everything that is asked of you – should bereceiving an Excellent Performance Review. Yet they continually receive “Meets Expectations” or “Average” – which rarely gets a raise or bonus. People that focus on “doing everything that is asked of them” – do not realize that bosses expect you to do well at your assigned dutites. Therefore you are merely “meeting expectations” — not excelling. Because of this thinking, these types of people often stay both frustrated and as individual contributors.
Once again – it’s not necessarily “manager” versus “staff” titles that are causing this separation; but the attitudes of the individuals. It’s the feeling of empowerment versus disempowerment.
2) If being a manager is overall more satisfying, why did so many people say they did not want to become a boss someday?
Ironically it is the for same reason. The same people that are uncomfortable about taking responsiblity for their own careers, are uncomfortable about taking responsiblity for a staff or project. They do not want the responsibility of directing or steering either a team or themselves. They don’t want the responsibility of leading any one.
Once again – it isn’t the title. It is the attitude. There are many happy individual contributers in both large and small companies. They are happy because they have autonomy, mastery of their craft and purpose. They are doing exactly what they want to be doing, and they do it well. They have confidence in their expertise and are respected in their position. People around them admire and they feel comfortable providing alternative solutions and proposals. Because they have a following or fanbase, it’s not difficult for them to lead. They feel empowered and able to influence those around them. Because of their positive attitude and influence on others, they don’t often stay as individual contributers and are often promoted to leadership role. NOT because they have a desire to LEAD anyone or tell others what to do; but because they have automatically attracted a following or fan base that are already in-line with their passions and goals. It is because of this that leadership is their next natural step.