A Leader’s Caution; The 5 Types of Managers!

I’d like to preface this by saying this is no knock on anyone in a professional position of leadership with the title of Manager. You’ve earned your way up the ladder and congrats on your success! I’d like to share my definition of a Leader vs. a Manager; a leader positively influences, impacts, protects, makes decisions, and upholds expectations while leading from the front. They not only have knowledge-base; they also understand the vision, their people, and how to marry the two in order to create wins. A Manager cracks the whip from the back; giving out orders and lacks the power of connection or has yet to develop the leadership skills of positive influence, impact, protection, decision making, and connection. When first promoted to positions of leadership, many people make the blind mistake of becoming managers until they learn how to effectively lead… I did! So, what to do?

It helps to understand that most promotions are given to employees that did one thing really well. You sold a million dollars’ worth of product… you’re now the Sales Manager! It doesn’t mean you know how to lead… it simply means you know how to sell a million dollars’ worth of product your way. You’ll most likely want to teach that way to your people and those that don’t get it become a thorn in your side.

Here are the 5 Types of Managers many people become after a promotion, what to beware, and what to do!


The Ego

This was me many years ago. I was promoted to lead a team of therapists; I was working in the field, completed my Master’s Degree, had the knowledge and skillset to provide therapy, was promoted to a leadership position, and now I’m supervising my ex-coworkers and friends. Sound familiar?

The problem was, I knew how to do therapy, but I didn’t know how to lead! Therefore, my ego was based on my knowledge of therapy (for you, it may be the knowledge of your product or years worked). I wanted everyone to know what I knew, operate the way I operated, and was working to create a bunch of Mini-Me’s.

Although I provided a lot of recognition & affirmation and passed on knowledge my ego didn’t allow me to acknowledge, respect, and effectively utilize the different superpowers of each person on my team. I had the world’s best Case Manager on my team, the world’s best Crisis Manager, an awesome Therapist, and a great In-Class De-Escalator. A manager… especially a manager with an ego wants to create mini-me’s. A Leader can see the value and superpower of his people individually and collectively, put them in the right seats, and thrive no matter the conditions… Be Mindful!


The Climber

This is the manager focused on climbing the ladder. The titles, promotions, raises, and rise to the top is their everything. The positive is… they are eager, motivated, and inspired. The negative is… it’s all about them! This is the manager you are scared will steal your idea, take all the credit, or throw you under the bus; protecting themselves to not lose their current position or to get ahead.

If you are working under a Climber, it may be a great idea to follow up on conversations via email. Black & White doesn’t lie! If you are a Climber, remember your positive is your ambition. Use that energy to ambitiously connect with your team. First, understand the vision of the organization, the vision factors necessary to make it happen, the expectations, and rules. Next, be sure your team is aware… you’d be surprised how many employees don’t know the bigger picture of the company; leading to constant questioning, complaining, gossiping, and low effort level. It’s also imperative to give professional credit to your team and the specific individuals on your team… do this in groups, in private, and in emails to be sure credit is going when it needs to. Leaders accept all the credit in bad times and none in the good times; giving it all to their team to soak up! When your team is successful… people know who the leader is! Your final step is getting to know your people:

  • Why are they here working for the organization?
  • What do they want to get out of the experience?
  • How do you marry their wants/aspirations to the organization’s vision of success; creating win-win-wins for you, them, and the company!


The Abuser

This is the person promoted to a position of power and is abusive and abrasive. The reasons can be many. Perhaps they’ve felt powerless throughout their lives and now have a badge of power they feel gives them the right and protection to be sharp, demanding, and confrontational. Perhaps they struggle to connect with people and reading social cues is not their strong point. Perhaps, they’re nervous and a rough approach is how they handle stressful situations. Perhaps they’re stressed and burnt-out. There are many more possibilities, but none make it ok to verbally, emotionally, or physically abusive to your staff. Vulgar comments, rude jokes, name-calling, close-proximity intimidation, sexual advances, threats, etc. cannot be tolerated by organizations, leaders, or employees.

If you are an employee or team member and in a situation like this, please report it immediately! You can be in a better situation, whether in your company or another, but the leaders in your organization need to know. Maybe they are unaware… or perhaps they are, have had conversations with The Abuser, and you letting them know is the final straw.

If you are The Abuser, my feedback is simple… STOP! If you don’t know what to say, speak my Leader’s 7. I’ve written about it in the past and it’s featured in my book, 7 Ways to Lead. It’s the 7 Languages your people need, want, and benefit most hearing from leadership… and how to speak it casual times and in tough conversations.  As a leader, you’ll know how to speak all 7, but each of your people has a top 1 or 2. Once you know, you’ll always have their ear and motivation!


The Friend

It can be difficult to be promoted to Manager and now have to manage your friends. You may also have a friendly personality and desire to connect and be in the weeds with those you’re managing. The positive is your people like you and know you care about them. The potential setback is, it may be difficult for you to have the tough conversation necessary for management. The World’s Best Preface Statement can help!

“I’m excited about the new position and looking forward to working with you/everyone. We’re going to have some great wins and will be sure to celebrate them. We will also have some rough times and I may have to say something that’s hard for you to hear, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t. Is that going to be ok?”. 99% of the people nod their heads and say “Yes”. The person that says “No”… beware!

At some point, 6 mins from now or 6 months from now… an employee will make a mistake and the conversation can sound like… “Hi ______. Do you have a second? Remember when I said I may have to say something that’s hard for you to hear? Ready? You will watch them physically and emotionally brace for impact… some with a smile, a nod, a deep breath, or even a giggle.

The point of the Preface Statement is to set expectations: expectations there will be great times, that you’ll celebrate them, and there will be tough times, and you will address them.


The Incompetent

This is the person promoted to a position of leadership or transferred to a new team without having the knowledge or skill set for the job. Perhaps they were great where they were, but it’s significantly different in the new position. The mistakes of The Incompetent can cause significant financial loss, employee loss, decreased morale, and the dissolution of a team.

If you are working under The Incompetent you have a choice:

  1. Suffer under their management, engage in the gossip, and become a cog in the wheel as morale plummets
  2. Engage with the Manager, offer support, understanding, and ask what they need most from you. Remember, managers are people too… and it’s most likely they’re going through an array of thoughts and feelings; including anxiety, frustration, excitement, and an eagerness to prove themselves.

If you are The Incompetent… I don’t use this word to be rude. It simply means you are aware and do not know what you need to know to be successful in the current position you occupy. So, be sure you know the expectations the organization has for you, know your strong suit to help get the job done, know your weak spots (you may not know immediately, but situations will arise as a Manager that will show you), admit what you don’t know, select leaders within your team; reveal your situation and solicit their advice.

Many employees believe managers either know it all or should know it all. What a way to break the mold as a manager, by admitting you don’t and creating a Right-Hand Person until you can walk on your own!

You now know the 5 pitfalls many fall into when promoted. You have a choice… become a Manager or become a Leader! Remember, you can be a leader no matter where you are in an organization… read my 5 Types of Leader; The Pros and Concerns of each Type to continue enhancing your Leadership & Work/Life Harmony… and that of those around you! Enjoy your evolution!


“Leaders accept all the credit in bad times and none in the good times; giving it all to their team to soak up! When your team is successful… people know who the leader is!” – Andre Young


Written by: Andre Young

Enhance Leadership and Work/Life Harmony in your Organization, your Leaders, Employees, and Teams with Andre Young’s Speaking Engagements, Evolve & Lead Training Programs (on-site, online, or virtual), and1-on-1 Growth Sessions! www.youevolvingnow.com

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