10 Signs You’re Ready for a Management Position in Biopharma

Two women in suits sitting on couch, one holding a clipboard and instructing other

Making the step up into a management position is an important professional milestone, but it can be especially rewarding in a competitive field like the biopharma industry.

Before you either ask to move into a leadership position or rush to accept a promotion you’ve been offered by your employer, you should reflect on your own set of strengths, weaknesses, skills and desires, to evaluate whether you’re truly ready to take on the added responsibility that comes with a management role.

10 Sings You're Ready for a Management Position

You’re likely ready to move into management if you can say “yes” to most or all of these descriptions:

1. You know your role, inside and out.

Before you are able to lead a team and make sure they’re executing all tasks and responsibilities, you have to know the ins and outs of their roles and ideally have had years of direct experience in the same position. It’s crucial that you understand their goals, challenges, and pain points firsthand so that you can provide valuable direction and feedback that will enable their success.

2. You’re ready to let go.

While a part of your position will likely entail delegating and tracking the performance and progress of your team, you also need to be able to let go of some of your own low-priority responsibilities or tasks and give your team the tools, resources and support they need to carry them out.

The best managers and leaders know they don’t need to “own” or control every project or task but instead are smart about empowering their subordinates and arming them with all they need to execute and succeed.

3. You’re a good communicator.

Being able to effectively and clearly communicate expectations is perhaps one of the most important attributes of a good manager. Regardless of whether you’re tasked with managing a team of one or 100, the communication skills required to set clear expectations and give honest feedback are the same.

In order to be successful in this leadership role, you have to clearly communicate goals and KPIs, provide regular positive feedback and understand how to communicate your team’s or department’s accomplishments and challenges to your own bosses or company leadership.

4. You want to see others succeed.

The best leaders are quick and ready to give credit to others where it’s due and are focused on supporting and empowering their team members, colleagues, and direct reports to reach their goals. Good leaders and managers genuinely want their employees to succeed, and as a manager, you should be prepared to advocate on behalf of your team, make their performance a priority, and incentivize and reward them for their successes both privately and publicly.

5. You can think strategically.

While you may not be responsible for creating company-wide strategies just yet, as a manager you should still have the strong ability to think strategically and beyond short-term goals or KPIs. Managers need to understand what the wider business goals are of the organization and then stay agile enough to keep their team focused amid any changing internal or external circumstances. Strategic thinkers aren’t just executors, they’re planners, and as a manager, you will be expected to set the agenda for your team members and help to implement the strategies that they follow.

6. You lead by example.

A great manager doesn’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. Employees will catch on pretty quickly if you say one thing or lay down one set of expectations for them but then do the opposite yourself. If you tell your team that transparent communication and respect is a workplace priority but you are rarely available for feedback and tend to give only negative criticism, it won’t be long before you lose their loyalty, their trust and very likely their employment with your organization.

7. You want the responsibility.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but do you truly want to take on a leadership role and all that entails? Perhaps you’ve been offered a promotion and can’t imagine saying “no” to a better job title or a higher salary.

Before you say “yes” to management, think honestly about what’s motivating you and the type of responsibility and career path you want. Not everyone is well-suited for management, and it’s better to be self-aware enough to know you wouldn’t thrive in the role than feel duty-bound to accept a position that you may end up hating.

8. You care about the big picture.

Managers see well beyond their own role and even their own team or department and consider the organization as a whole when they’re executing tasks and mentoring employees.

In order to effectively communicate expectations to your employees and manage their performance/success, you have to have a solid understanding of the wider business goals of your organization and, most importantly, how your department and direct reports contribute to the overall growth or health of the company.

9. You consult with others.

Anyone in a leadership position will attest to the value of knowing when to ask for help. The best managers know they don’t know it all and are open and eager to solicit great ideas from wherever they come, whether that’s from your team or not.

Managers don’t just come up with solutions and ideas, they listen, ask questions and truly value the input of others. If you tend to think that you’re the only one who can solve a problem or the only one with great ideas for your department, you’re probably not ready to coach others.

10. You have a clear leadership philosophy.

We often think that leadership philosophies belong only to those who occupy the c-suite, but if you take on a leadership position, even managing a small team in your department, you should have a clear idea of your own management style and approach. 

If you're not sure you've honed your leadership philosophy, check out this article.

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