5 Things to Know Before You Pursue a Management Position

Jake Wilder
7 min readMay 19, 2022

It Doesn’t Need to be This Overwhelming


I don’t know you, but I’m guessing that you’re considering a career in management. You probably wouldn’t have clicked on this story otherwise. Maybe you’re wondering if it’s the right call for you. Maybe you’ve started down the path and are beginning to have second doubts. Either way, it can be a big decision.

It’s also a difficult one because most companies don’t prepare people for it. We spend years going to school to learn engineering, accounting, or whatever. Then we spend more time learning specific jobs and refining our craft. And yet, think this process shouldn’t apply to management. They seem to believe people can snap their fingers and seamlessly transition into a new management role.

If you’ve never managed people before, it can be overwhelming. How do you create a compelling vision to motivate your team? How do you make decisions when there’s no clear answer and everyone’s split on what to do? How do you give people freedom and autonomy while also upholding high standards?

If it easy, we wouldn’t have so many bad managers out there. Yet we do, because it’s not. And while I wish that I could give you a recipe that would guarantee your success, I don’t have one. But there are a few things that looking back, I think would have made the jump into management a little less intimidating.

You don’t need to be a manager to be successful.

Too many people still believe that the path to success runs through management promotions. High quality engineers, designers, and technicians are incredibly valuable. Enough so that most companies offer career ladders where people can receive similar promotions, codes, and salaries within both technical and management career tracks.

Star individual contributors often become some of the companies most influential leaders. They mentor and coach others that are learning the job. They reinforce the right behaviors and cultivate the organization’s culture. They’re often closer to the work than managers, so they often have a bigger opportunity to provide timely feedback and help people grow.

Jake Wilder

I don’t know where I’m going. But at least I know how to get there.