Why be a manager?

Why would anyone want to transition from individual contributor work to management? The fantastic book The Manager’s Handbook says there are two core reasons:

  1. Finding joy in the leverage of a high-performing team. If you’re doing a good job as a manager, then your team will perform well and achieve things much greater than you alone could accomplish. There’s something quite beautiful about a well-functioning team.
  2. Finding joy in your team’s personal growth. Helping individuals on your team find their zone of genius, coaching them, and watching them grow into their full potential—these are all highly rewarding things to be a part of.

I’ll add one more: Finding joy in helping people love their job. I get immense fulfillment out of that, and as a manager, that’s explicitly my job.

So if you’re considering going from IC to management, consider how much joy you’d find in:

  1. Building and leveraging a killer team
  2. Supporting people’s growth
  3. Helping people love their jobs

And consider how much joy you currently find in what you’d be losing. For most managers, that means the tangible satisfaction of building things firsthand.

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