A management position can be an exciting opportunity and a terrifying one, whether you're overseeing a small group or hundreds of employees. It's not a responsibility that can be taken lightly. While the title might seem glamorous, being a manager means working longer and harder hours, making tough decisions, and carrying out unpleasant tasks like disciplining or firing your employees. It can also steal away precious time from your family and your personal interests -- and generate extra stress. Is it worth it? Over half of the management positions in the U.S. belong to women. So in spite of the obstacles, many women seem to find management to be very rewarding.
It Pays More
Perhaps you're one of those people who say that money isn't everything when it comes to your career decisions, but the bottom line is that management pays more. And it should. The extra responsibility requires more skill -- which is reflected in higher compensation. How much more you can make as a manager varies with your field and your level of management. If you don't think money matters, consider this: a higher salary or more bonuses means that you can take a enjoyable vacation, invest in a more luxurious home, or even afford to take longer maternity leave when that time comes -- offsetting the personal price you pay for your hard work.
Influencing Company Culture
Many managers find the opportunity to influence the direction of their company or their organization to be very exciting. One big way to influence your workplace is by shaping its culture. If you're not sure what that means, think of one of your favorite bosses or teachers. What made her classroom or workplace so special? Chances are, you found the atmosphere you worked in to be inspiring and fulfilling. As a manager, you get the chance to create that culture and inspire others who are a part of it.
Opportunity for Personal Growth
When you're not in management, your advancement within your field will only go so far. As a manager, not only do you need to be an expert in your field to lead your colleagues and make decisions, but you should be at the cutting edge of the developments in your industry. That requires you to be a continuous learner -- which means that you're the one who's doing research, attending conferences and taking the classes you need to be an expert and an effective leader. Good managers are excited about those opportunities and find the opportunity for personal growth to be extremely rewarding.
You're in Control
It may depend on how high in management you are, but being in control of big decisions can be a huge reward if you are up to the task. Not only is it exciting to guide the direction of your company or department, but you have the power to make your career work for you. If you're working too hard, you can choose whether it's appropriate to hire an assistant. You decide who's in your circle of influence. You help craft policies about working schedules. This is a big benefit in an era when women are struggling to excel in their careers while balancing the demands of a family.
Helping Others Grow
As a manager, you're automatically a mentor. Your employees look to you for guidance and feedback. If you're a good manager, you'll help your team members set goals and reward them for reaching those goals. They'll be able to participate in the success of the company and will take pride in what they've accomplished. For some, this can be a greater reward than any of your own personal gain.
The Leader's Perspective
Few things are more rewarding than playing a lead role in facilitating a successful project, whether it's a grade school science experiment or a multimillion dollar business deal. As a manager, you have the opportunity to step away from the day-to-day grind of the workplace and focus on what you're trying to accomplish, more than other employees do. You have the benefit of perspective. As a result, you manage what is meaningful in the workplace. You help your employees let go of the small things and be enthusiastic about the big things. It's a big responsibility, but it's also a big reward.
Gina Poirier has a professional background in nonprofit administration and management, primarily with youth development organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of Washington and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Alaska Anchorage.