If I was the boss [Talent Profile]

The number one question I get from people who take the Octogram® test has to do with the fundamental shift from labor to management. This is especially relevant for people in the middle of their career path, they have worked their way up the chain, they have maxxed out their potential income in their current position. The next step on the career ladder is into a management position. Can they do it? Should they do it?

This can only be answered by asking two very important questions:

  1. Do you want to be in a management position?
  2. What kind of manager will you be?
office space manager

The poster child for bad bosses

The first question seems obvious, but it’s not. It is the failure of people to answer that question correctly that leads to the concept of the “Peter Principle”, that people are promoted until they reach a level where they are incompetent. When answering this question, I always encourage people to look objectively at what a manager does, day to day, in their work. This is just like any other job move. Do the day-to-day requirements of that position match with your values and work style? I encourage them to think about the job itself, not the perceived benefits of the job. No matter how good the perks, if you hate what you are doing, you put yourself at risk for stagnation and burnout. You also put the people around you at risk because you might end up being a crappy boss.

Let’s assumes that you have looked within yourself and that you want to be a leader.

“What kind of manager will you be?” is the question that the Talent Profile is here to help you with. If you know you want to take the lead, you should know what kind of leader you are going to be!

Let’s see what the Talent Profile says about me.

leadershipstyleLeadership Style

Even though we focus on work styles, the Octogram was originally developed as a leadership model. Thus, we can offer some insights into the relationship between work and leadership style. Based on that information, what would Richard look like if placed into a managerial or leadership role?

  • As a leader, Richard is less attentive to the emotional signals of his employees. He does not invest a lot of time into individual employees, unless it concerns something that is directly important for good job performance. He will need to stretch occasionally to show more empathy to other people, without this, he will have a tough time engendering loyalty in his team.
  • Richard finds a good team spirit to be less important than things and activities that are more measurable. Eventually, problems are likely to arise because he tends to overlook conflicts or problems within his team, hoping that they will go away of their own accord.
  • Richard is first and foremost a specialist. As a leader, he is an effective guide for helping his team solve problems and find solutions. As a specialist, he can effectively manage other specialists and field experts because he recognizes their concerns and “speaks their language”.
  • As a leader, Richard is going to be spending a lot of time on the work floor motivating his employees. He is strongly task and result oriented, which means that he is going to pressure employees to perform at their best. He is demanding, he speaks directly to people and is clear about setting expectations. He encourages a competitive atmosphere and rewards performers who exceed his expectations.
  • Richard is a strategic manager, he is focused on long term trends and the big picture. He is less inclined to get involved in the short term everyday difficulties and problems that pop up in a team or group. He wants to set the course and let other people fill in the task lists and worry about the details. He will be effective at leading employees who value autonomy and prefer working to goals without direct micro-management.

The first two bullet points are referring to my very low Team Player and Helper role scores. I’m going to come across as dictatorial to my team unless I burn a lot of energy toward being, essentially pretending to be, warm and caring. So, if I’m going into a managerial role, it’s got to be in a place that is either very short-term (projects) or maybe with remote workers? This also connects with my personal experiences as a manager, I just come across as a big meany to people who need a warm workplace atmosphere.

The other points in the report back that up. If I take a management role, it should be dealing with specialists, who value their autonomy and want clear goals and want to be rewarded for their performance. I would do well in a position that ties specialists together into a coherent strategy. “You do this, you do that, and I see all the moving parts so I know that our strategic goals will be met if everyone does their job.”

I don’t want to be in a management role.

So, if I was a normal person, and not writing a review of my review, I might have skipped this section. Being a leader is complex, I think it’s something baked in, you want to be a leader or you don’t. Managing people is an expertise that must be learned by working with and seeing good managers in action. I sometimes read a post on LinkedIn that says something like, “The one thing all leaders must do”, and I just shake my head. It’s not one thing.

A good leader has to have the skills and the drive. I’m smart enough to develop the skills, but I’m also smart enough to know I don’t have the drive!

The Talent Profile is available on the Octogramtest.com website.

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