People Management – A skill or a need?

Lot of times people get pushed into people management because they have been great performers and the stars of the team. Managers feel there is no longer a senior Individual Contributor role for them or feel there might be an unnecessary overhead to hire an experienced senior for the role and hence instead promote this star of the team.
Possible comparisons to others in that role begins and it truly feels this star is the best fit for the role.

Where they fail to understand is that the star doesn’t fit into this role. They lack both the skill and the intent to move into the people management role.

These folks later begin to feel stuck in the new role. They do not enjoy the people skills, endless meetings, avoid the hard discussions with their peers who are now the direct reports. They were once the stars and they enjoyed the stardom but now are battling against proving themselves on the floor, also battling internally.

Its sad because there is no way out from this problem. They are left with very few options of either fighting within themselves each day, taking a transfer to another team (if the company is pretty big) or quit the company and decide to take on a new IC role outside elsewhere.

The last option is a big blow to everyone because the company originally lost a star.

As a company we need to reason out well the why’s for this critical people leader/manager role.
1. Why do we need this new role? Is this a business-critical role? If we do not hire for this role, how can we sustain?

2. Why are we considering this person for this promotion? Is it because the person is the star of my team? Is it because the person asked for it? Is it because we truly should not hire an external person?

The last and the most important question

3. Can the person really do a good job to this new role? Does this person really want to be a people leader? Is getting into management one of the top goals? Does it need to happen now, or we can wait to coach and mentor the person futuristically?

Again, management is not about execution or running the meetings, it comes with a huge cost. Question for us to think is what that cost is!

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