October 10, 2011

reading about management if I'm not a manager?

A reader asks: "Dear Wannabe|Employee, Is it a little over ambitious for me to start reading books on management when I'm still an entry level professional?"

One of the best things (career wise) I've started doing is to read up on management even though I am not a manager myself. I wanted to read a book on this topic in preparation of possibly being a manager in future, but I soon realised that reading up on management can actually help me become a more valuable employee.

Here's why:
  • If I can make my manager's day easier, she will be sure to value me as a team member because I support the team's work load and not only my own. Something any employer will appreciate is when you consider the bigger picture and not only the tiny part you play.
  • If I know what issues my manager may have to face on a daily basis, I can ovoid adding to those frustrations.
  • If I know a thing or two about management before I become one, my chances of being great at it from the start are better than the average Joe's (not disregarding the mistakes I will most definitely make). I will know more about what I can expect, and how NOT to handle sensitive situations.
  • If I read up on management I will most likely understand why my manager acts and makes decisions the way she does. Criticising a manager's decision making without knowing what in entails may come across as being shortsighted and (to be honest) a little foolish.
  • If I have a terrible manager, reading may give me some insight as to how I may want to approach the issue. If I have an awesome manager, I will appreciate her even more.
First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently
So, the first book I chose to read on management is First, Break All the Rules (Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman), and I am hooked! It draws a clear distinction between managers and leaders, and how (many times) managers really aren't good leaders. It is helping me distinguish which kind of managers I want to work for, but essentially which type of manager I would like to be later on. I can start being a leader in my position even though my title doesn't say "manager" at the end. The author also focuses on what employees REALLY value in their jobs, and it has given me some food for thought as to what really makes me want to commit to a specific job.

Have you read it? Whatever the line of work you're in, I'm confident that it will benefit your career in a significant way!

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