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My supervisor wants to promote me to a managerial role, but I really don’t want the job. I know they’re struggling to fill the role and I’d be an excellent fit for it. But I enjoy being an individual contributor instead of telling other people what to do. My supervisor is convinced that I can be trained to like the job, but I’m not so sure. Should I trust my gut and turn down the promotion or try it out and potentially sour my relationship with this company if I’m having a bad time?


Candy Ho, chair of CERIC, a national career development charity, Vancouver

Facing a decision between accepting a promotion to a managerial role and staying in a position where you’re most content can indeed be challenging – I speak as a career development expert and also from my own lived experience. It’s commendable that you’re considering this so carefully.

From your message, it’s clear that you have a strong understanding of your preferences and strengths as an individual contributor. While the opportunity to step into a managerial role is a testament to your capabilities and the trust your supervisor has in you, it’s crucial to align professional advancements with your personal satisfaction and career aspirations. Essentially, you need to balance between your organizational and personal needs.

Having an open and honest conversation with your supervisor about your concerns and aspirations is vital. Expressing gratitude for the offer while sharing your passion for your current role could provide a foundation for exploring alternatives that benefit both you and the organization.

If there’s room for compromise, such as a trial period in the managerial role with the option to return to your home role – a ‘try before you buy’ approach – this could offer insights into whether you could find fulfilment in this new capacity without a long-term commitment. A great mentor once advised me to use the phrase, “Yes, and …” to demonstrate my keenness to be a team player, while also identifying the accommodations I needed to be successful in the promotion. In my case, I negotiated for flexible hours and worked from home two days a week so I could be with my toddler.

Ultimately, trusting your gut and being true to your career goals and personal satisfaction is paramount. If after careful consideration, you feel this managerial role isn’t the right fit, it’s okay to decline. Opportunities for growth come in many forms and the best path is one that aligns with your values and brings you joy.


Tara Ataya, chief people and diversity officer, Hootsuite, Vancouver

My answer is entirely centred on trust. Trust yourself and maintain trust in the working relationship you have with your manager through honesty and transparency. Trust is key in any relationship.

Trust yourself: You, better than anyone, know what your strengths and interests are. Too often, professionals take on people management responsibilities because it is the only next natural step to progress their career within an organization. If you know that your strengths lie elsewhere, be honest about how your skills and abilities can best serve the team and organization.

It’s important to have an open and candid conversation with your supervisor about your reservations regarding the managerial role. Express your gratitude for the opportunity and your willingness to continue contributing to the team in your current capacity. Work with your manager to explore alternative career development opportunities that better align with your interests and strengths.

If the thought of taking on a managerial role doesn’t resonate with you and doesn’t align with your career aspirations, trust your gut. While your supervisor may believe that you can be trained to like the job, you know yourself better than anyone. Taking on a managerial position purely out of obligation or pressure could lead to dissatisfaction and potentially hinder your professional growth in the long term and have an effect on the team you are managing.

While turning down the promotion may initially disappoint your supervisor, it may lead you to do something you are not interested in, which doesn’t lend itself to your strengths. If you’re genuinely not interested in managing others, attempting to fulfill the role could lead to stress, burnout and ultimately damaging your relationship with the company. On the other hand, if you decline the promotion and continue excelling in your current role, it demonstrates integrity and self-awareness, which are valuable qualities in any professional setting. Trust that by being true to yourself and your career goals, you’ll ultimately find opportunities that lead to fulfilment and success.

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