Sharmini Wainwright is managing director of Michael Page & Page Personnel Hong Kong. With over 13 years’ experience with PageGroup, she oversees specialist recruitment across finance, financial services, sales & marketing, legal and more.
I may get a promotion but I am worried I might not be able to deal with the stress
My immediate superior is leaving the company in a few months’ time. A senior manager has confided to me that I will be the running for the job.
I am naturally flattered and excited and it would be good for my career to move into management for the first time. I am concerned though, having seen how stressed my current manager gets. Do you think I should take the job or wait till I am more ready?
My first response to this situation is “what a great opportunity”. It sounds like you enjoy working where you do and have some good relationships internally to have already received advanced notice on key matters. This is very much a personal decision that you would have to make; however, there are a couple of points that you should consider.
Firstly, every leader approaches their responsibilities, processes stress and prioritises elements of their role differently. Therefore don’t let your current manager’s style be a deterrent in how you view the role. Your manager may have external factors outside of work influencing their behaviour or providing additional pressures.
Secondly, it sounds like you have some positive sponsors internally who are encouraging you to take the next step. This is a great position to be in as you can often seek counsel from mentors within the organisation. They may have a different perspective on the context; you can also ask for their advice around the role.
Thirdly, if this is something you are definitely keen to consider, take the first step of proactively applying and showing your interest for the role.
This can make a big difference in which candidate is selected as employers will always want someone who is competent plus has a demonstrated interest in the role.
I understand that you have doubts about your readiness. Ask yourself whether you fear the technical aspects of the role or taking on greater responsibility. Most people aren’t 100 per cent ready when a new leadership opportunity awaits them, so they make the decision to grow into the role.
There will be plenty of learns, wins and challenges that you will face in your first year of a more senior position however that is where the true shaping happens.
As long as you feel confident with over 60-70 per cent of the role, take the leap and you will surprise yourself with how quickly you can pick up new concepts and, more importantly, how reinvigorated you will feel by learning again and taking up a new challenge. In the long run, it will be worth the effort.