Red Green Repeat Adventures of a Spec Driven Junkie

Reason NOT to be a Manager: Deliver Bad News

Recently, I have these questions asked by friends who are senior/lead levels at their current company:

  • “Should I become a manager?”
  • “My boss wants me to become a manager, should I?”

In general, one should spend time considering this change. Once you become a manager, everything changes

My Path to Management

I was an individual contributor for about 20 years when I became a manager.

I studied the managerial arts for a long time. I have my MBA, served as a leader at Toastmasters. (Did you know Toastmasters has a leadership track as well as a public speaking track??) Reading all the issues of Harvard Business Review or Peter Drucker) books I could get my hands on.

When I finally became a manager, I couldn’t believe it. Wow, actual direct reports. Authority! POWER!! :-)

Shift in Perspective

The one thing I did not learn about management that is different from being an individual contributor:

To my directs, I represent the company. Good news or bad news.

With good news, it’s easy to deliver. Who doesn’t like good news, especially when it’s about them? Examples:

  • giving promotions/raises
  • praise for work
  • starting new projects
  • granting additional resources

Delivering Bad News

With bad news, that’s a different situation. None of resources I learned from told me how to handle:

  • deny request for raise/promotion
  • executing performance improvement plans
  • stopping projects
  • managing out team members

After serving as a manager for almost five years, I can tell you, a great reason to not be a manager is: delivering bad news.

Delivering bad news is so hard, it motivates me to be the best manager possible. I will do everything possible to avoid delivering bad news I have control over, especially executing a performance improvement plan OR managing out team members.

How to Deliver Bad News??

The only resource I found that even talks about delivering bad news as a manager: Manager Tools - (thanks JM!).

Episodes from their podcast that has been wonderful:


In general, I would advise you to become a manager if you are comfortable with delivering bad news such as:

  • denying raise/promotion requests
  • executing performance improvement plan
  • managing out team members

The life of a manager is not as glamorous as the majority of resources available make them out to be.