Moving into management is tempting to many IT pros, but before jumping into a position you\u2019re not ready for, there are a few issues you should examine.\nI\u2019ve been fortunate to have managed thousands of employees in my 20-plus years of managing IT resources. One of the interesting things I\u2019ve consistently noticed during that time is how many employees want to become managers.\nI absolutely love managing IT organizations and the people within them, but it\u2019s not all glory and accolades. There is also hard work, frustration and tremendous challenges required to do the job right. So before you start applying for that open management role, you should take a closer look at the job.\nReview the four points discussed below and decide if you\u2019re prepared to move successfully into management nirvana.\n1. Answer the \u201cwhy?\u201d\nWhen interviewing or counseling employees, I\u2019m often confronted with someone\u2019s desire to become a manager, and the first question I ask is, \u201cWhy?\u201d\nTheir response can provide a useful perspective. Here are a few examples that I\u2019ve gotten over the years:\n\n\u201cI want to be the boss.\u201d\n\u201cI want the authority and prestige of the position.\u201d\n\u201cI want to tell others what they should do.\u201d\n\u201cI don\u2019t know; it just seems like the natural course for my career.\u201d\n\u201cI want to attend management meetings and learn what the company is planning.\u201d\n\u201dI want to build a big organization.\u201d\n\nAt the time, the staffers who provided these responses didn\u2019t have a clue what an IT manager\u2019s job involved. In fact, most IT professionals don\u2019t. Too many get thrown into management positions with little or no preparation to do the job effectively. The result is pretty predictable.\nYour answer to \u201cWhy do you want to be a manager?\u201d reveals a great deal about what you want from a job and how you view the role of IT in the company.\nMany technicians see the role as one that defines the technology direction of the company and determines what tools to use.\nFor them, the allure of a management position is the ability to make these decisions. To some extent, this is true, but many don\u2019t get the fact that what really drives these decisions is the company\u2019s needs and not necessarily the technical knowledge the manager may possess.\n2. Current competency isn\u2019t all that\u2019s needed\nBeing good at what you do does not necessarily prepare you for a management position.\nLet me repeat that: Just because a person is an outstanding technician doesn\u2019t mean the person will be a good, or even an average, manager.\nThe growth of technology in the last 20 years has created a large demand for more IT managers, and many have found themselves in the role without anything more to help them than what they learned in their former positions.\nCertainly, knowing how to program can benefit you in a programming manager role, but it can also be a limiting factor.\nWhen you take the best software developers and make them managers, the company and CIO often lose their best productive resources plus a very green person is now placed in a management role that directly influences many others.\nFor many years, it was thought that the best resource in a technical area could effectively manage the rest of the team.\nWRONG!\nThat\u2019s not only a false idea; it can also be a dangerous one for the company, the IT organization, and even the employees touched by such a move.\nThe fact is that effectively managing employees and technology resources has very little to do with how technical you are and more to do with your ability to facilitate, persuade, plan, organize, motivate and communicate.\nYou don\u2019t hear anything very technical in these terms.\nSuddenly, what becomes more important is not what you can do yourself, but what you can get accomplished through others. This is a tremendously difficult transition for most technical experts to make \u2013 i.e., to start depending upon others more than of themselves.\nManagement is like any other skill. You can learn it, but the key issue is that it\u2019s a different skill set from what you have used as a technician.\nOf course, the fact that you have been successful as a technical resource does give you a head start, because it helps you relate to others who have technical roles.\nWhen you become a manager, you have to let others do the technical part, so you can focus your time and energy on doing the management part.\nWith technology changing as rapidly as it is, it\u2019s almost impossible to continue being a technical expert and expect to be an excellent manager. Managing an IT organization is a challenging and fulltime job.\nIf you take nothing else away from this article, take the message that when you decide to become an IT manager, you have to focus your time and energy on things that help you succeed as a manager.\nIf you like solving problems, learning new technologies, and implementing new tools and technology, you may want to stay in your technical role. That\u2019s what technical experts do.\nManagers don\u2019t have time to become experts in the new technologies and do their management jobs well, especially if you are in a large company.\n3. Positioning yourself for management\nI\u2019m not suggesting you can\u2019t become a manager if you truly want to. Take my insight as a message to prepare and understand what the job is really all about before taking the leap.\nIt\u2019s not about giving orders and telling others what to do as much as you might think. If that were the case, it would be a simpler deal.\nHere are five steps to take in your current role to prepare for a management position:\n\nLearn how to manage projects and establish a successful track record of managing projects that are delivered on time and within budget. Developing sound project management skills is the best preparatory step as the role requires many of the skills needed in a management position.\nObserve successful managers managing and motivating employees. When you see something that\u2019s effective, incorporate it into your skills \u201ctoolkit.\u201d\nFind a mentor who has a successful management track record and is willing to help you develop management skills and offer insight. Mentors are invaluable and can help you save time, avoid wasted effort, and reduce frustration because they know the shortcuts that are effective as a manager, just as you know the shortcuts in your technical role.\nTell your current supervisor that you\u2019re looking to move into a management position and would like help preparing for the new challenge.\nAsk for more responsibility so you can develop new management skills. Be sure you preface the request so that it\u2019s clear that you want it to help you develop skills that will prepare you for a management role.\n\n4. There\u2019s no quick shortcut\nDepending upon your background and experience, you may have a long road ahead in your preparation efforts. Don\u2019t expect to be offered a management position the week after you ask for it. You need to realize that management roles require new skills, so you should be prepared to make the investment to develop those skills.\nOver the years, I\u2019ve turned down a few management\/promotion requests from staffers who were not ready to become managers.\nBut for those who showed a genuine desire to become a manager and who I thought had good potential for management, I made an investment in them. Many turned out to be exceptional IT managers.\nIf I had moved them into management roles, unprepared in both perspective and skill set, I would have been negligent as a manager myself and could have damaged their careers.\nIn every case, the first question I ask is, \u201cWhy do you want to be a manager?\u201d\nIn many cases, the initial answer is not the same answer given a year later when they better understand the role.