QUESTION: As I am a manager, I should get a higher salary than my subordinates.
FACT: Same excellent subject-matter experts might get more salary than the manager.
There is a feeling among many managers that the managerial role carries more responsibility and accountability than the technical one, and so their salary should be more than that of any of their team members. But it Is a fact that there may be a few team members drawing a higher salary than their manager. They are the ones who have chosen the technical ladder to climb; being subject-matter experts, they form the backbone of a team. While it is not true that all people on the technical ladder will draw more than the corresponding managerial- ladder professionals, a few might. Some technical skills are scarce, and so they are compensated well. Thus, you may have a situation where a technical expert’s salary falls in the same band as the manager’s. In such cases, if a manager approaches HR or his superiors to make suitable adjustments to his salary, his request is normally turned down.
There are people who are right for the technical ladder and those who are right for the managerial chair, But, some technical experts make the decision to don a managerial role based on the false notion that managers command a better salary.
In a healthy organization, both types of people are rewarded suitably, based on their work content and the extent of their accountability. Both have an important role to play—while the subject-matter experts provide depth to a company, the managerial team provides breadth.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? It you do not understand the point that certain subordinates can get a better salary than you, then you will struggle to operate effectively as a manager. You must understand market forces and why some with advanced technical skills receive a higher compensation. If this is not understood, then you will recruit people based only on salary, not taking into account the skills and experience they bring to the table. This, in the long run, destroys your team’s effectiveness and your own reputation.