Practical analysis for investment professionals
24 August 2016

Is a Leadership Role Right for You?

Posted In: Careers

Success in your individual-contributor role can lead to opportunities to move into leadership and people-manager positions. This kind of promotion and recognition is very gratifying and often an opportunity to advance your career.

Sometimes, though, this move proves to be a step backward rather than a step forward.

One of the case studies in Career Success: Navigating the New Work Environment by Khalid Ghayur, CFA, FSIP, and Dwight D. Churchill, CFA, demonstrates this well.

You are the only one responsible for deciding what course your career takes, so it is essential that you carefully examine whether moving into a leadership or personnel management role is right for you.



In a short interview, I asked Sharon Ranson, a Toronto-based executive coach, about what investment professionals should think about when they evaluate whether this kind of career move makes sense for them. Here are five key points she made that are worth remembering:

  1. Don’t worry too much at first about whether or not you can do the job. Instead, think carefully and deeply about whether or not you want to do the job. Ask yourself: Does this bring me closer to my long-term career goals?
  2. When your evaluation of the opportunity reaches the point of conducting a gap analysis between where you are now in your development and where you need to be to succeed in the position, understand that the gap doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t do the job. It only means you know how to plan your development in the role.
  3. If you decide to seize the opportunity, invest time and thought planning for the transition into your new role and out of your current role. Make sure you do both.
  4. If you opt to decline, be clear to yourself and to others about why the opportunity is not a good fit for you.
  5. Whether you accept or turn down the offer, the situation presents a fantastic occasion to reassess the terms of your employment with your employer. This could entail job sculpting, progression planning, and, potentially, compensation.

If you have advice or insight from your own career about whether the transition from individual-contributor to leadership and people management is right for you, do share it in the comments section.

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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

Image credit: iStockphoto.com/erhui1979

About the Author(s)
Julia VanDeren

Julia VanDeren, manager, career services at CFA Institute, serves as the subject matter expert in career management skills, curating and developing career resources for members and program candidates. Previously, she served CFA Institute as career services representative, managing the CFA Institute JobLine (now Career Center) and Career Centre (now Career Tools) resources. VanDeren holds a BA from the University of Virginia and an MPA from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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