What is the smartest thing someone has ever said to you?
You need to manage people.
I went fairly far, fairly quickly as an individual contributor. Even one that had several folks “reporting” to him. But I hadn’t really managed a team. One that I didn’t really want to manage. One that didn’t really need to do everything I told them to do. One that performed functions and did things I didn’t really understand.
Put differently, I had been a team lead, and I had managed outside resources — but I had not been a true manager of employees.
I had a boss that gave me that shot. He handed me a functional area I didn’t really want to manage. He said I needed the experience to grow.
I turned it down. I didn’t want to do it.
Then I slept on it, and 2 days later said he was right, and would appreciate the opportunity.
Management is a set of skills. It is not an innate skill, even if perhaps some of leadership is. You gotta learn. The earlier you learn, the better a shot you have at become a Director, a VP, and a CEO.