"When did you first realise you wanted to manage people?" is a question I ask many managers in workshops. Around 90% reply: "I didn't"!

One of the things that strikes me as odd is the number of managers who have taken the extra salary to take on people management responsibilities but have then chosen to not really do what comes with that part of the job or just do not have the skill.

It’s also interesting to note that when you look at the CV’s of those who were in people management positions: the wording is always very generic rather than focusing on any actual people achievements:
‘Managed a large team’, ‘increased the team to six people’, ‘motivated the team to exceed targets’ are lovely statements but you’d find them on any number of CV’s! What does it all actually mean? In other cases there are people who may have a job description that effectively puts the people management bit of the job at, say, 30% or more of the role - so you would perhaps expect 30% of their achievements to be people related - and often they aren't!

Answering employee questions, signing off holiday/expense forms and delegating tasks is very low-level managing on a basic admin level but often is what some managers are calling 'management'. The focus needs to instead be on how you as manager helped grow the person's capability, how you helped them improve performance, how you inspired them to do what?

It should primarily be about the 'but for' test - 'But for me this team member would not have...?'. Management skill, as we know, does not come easy to all Managers. Many people will have 'a go at managing' for the pay-rise or 'have a go at interviewing applicants' without any real training and wonder why things aren't going as they should. "It's easy, it's just people stuff" is a common response but if it was all so easy wouldn't everyone be actually doing it? Some questions to ask ourselves:

1) Why does this person want to manage? - is it just about money or is it the only way they think they will progress their career?
2) Do you really want this person in a people management role with all the risks that go with this?
3) Have they shown flashes of brilliance when it comes to how they relate to and deal with others? Is there a way of getting them to perhaps mentor/look after just one person for a while to see how they get on in?
4) Do they already have lots of credibility and respect around the office?

...and often, it's the awful personality traits, behaviours or temperament of some people who 'bring themselves in from home every day (which we don't want!) with a 'this is me, take it or leave it' approach. They are quick-tempered, dismissive, rude, arrogant and dictatorial -and make no effort to adapt or improve these behaviours when at work - and most of us have had this terrible manager in our careers! Who promoted them? Who thought they should be in the risky position of managing others? Terrible managers cost businesses a fortune in high employee turnover, legal disputes and the general hell of going home with 'that manager' preying on my mind all day and night!

Not everyone can be a software developer, a management accountant or a surgeon - and not everyone can or should be a manager.