About 10 years ago, a colleague who wanted some feedback regarding an issue he had been struggling with approached me. Both of us were managers at the time; however, it had gotten to the point where he was wondering whether or not he should remain in a supervisory position. He enjoyed the job and excelled in the role, but it had now been a number of years and he felt differently about the position, for a number of reasons.
So, how do you know when it is time to step down from being a supervisor? Some indicators include having a decreased interest in managing people, becoming easily agitated or stressed out by your employees, having no interest in self-improvement, no longer scheduling individual or team meetings, not being asked to be a mentor or a coach, your team members not getting promoted, a decrease in your work productivity, and a general feeling of apathy.
If you are experiencing any of these, be honest with yourself and ask the following questions:
- “Do I still enjoy being a manager?”
- “What do I like about it?”
- “What do I find challenging about the role?”
- “Are my talents being used and could they be better utilized elsewhere?”
- “What is the primary reason I haven’t left my position?”
- “Is it a good reason?”
Based on your self-assessment, you then need to decide if you’re going to stay in a supervisory capacity, ask to transition to a non-managerial job within the company, or leave the organization.
If you are going to continue in the role, there needs to be a recommitment to work on your personal issues that need improvement, so that you can increase your internal motivation and be a positive role model. You can get assistance through the EAP by speaking with a counselor, along with having an honest discussion with your support system.
If you decide to step down, your next step is to speak with your immediate supervisor and explain the situation. Crucial Skills has excellent advice, which they call, “Share Your Good Intentions”. More details on having this conversation with your boss are in the Suggested Resources section below, but based on their suggestions, consider saying the following:
“I’ve appreciated the opportunity, but have decided not to continue in my position as a manager. I’ve worked very hard to do a great job, however, I believe that my talents can be better utilized in a non-managerial role. I’m committed to the success of the organization and I believe this would be best for everyone involved.”
It can certainly be difficult to voluntarily step down as a manager, whether that means being in a different capacity or turning in your resignation. There may be a loss of status, power and a decrease in salary. Ultimately, you need to decide if you’re a supervisor for the right reasons and if you’re truly satisfied. My colleague knew it was time for him to step down from being a manager and I’ve never seen him happier.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any personal stories you are willing to share? Please feel free to ask questions or share your experiences below.
Jeremy S. joined Empathia in 2007 as Manager, Client Care Services and currently serves as Account Manager/Sales Consultant. He is also a certified wellness and tobacco cessation coach. Jeremy has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Organizational Development. Prior to joining Empathia, he spent 14 years in the EAP industry in a variety of managerial/leadership roles at another behavioral healthcare organization. Jeremy enjoys reading, photography, music and spending time with his wife and daughters.