Are you currently a manager, or do you want to become one? Do you consider yourself a leader? The reason there are two different questions, is because there could be two different answers. Most people mistakenly believe a manager and a leader are the same thing. Anyone who has worked within any company would agree that this could not be further from the truth. We have a long-standing history of ineffective, incompetent managers out there.

Unfortunately, within our corporate world, many people get promoted into management for the wrong reasons. Someone could be an ace at performing within a skilled support role, but that doesn’t automatically make them management material. They may have mastered the intellectual IQ requirements for that technical role, but may have not developed the EQ (Emotional Quotient) to manage people. Some managers are just not interested in managing people, but will accept the promotion for the title, prestige, or salary increase. Once in that position, we find they under-perform compared to their previous roles. These managers still want to focus on the technical side of their role, and disregard the human resource requirements. Managers like this will cause your talented employees to look elsewhere. Most people quit their boss, not the company. When considering the promotion of someone, companies need to stop prioritizing tenure ahead of talent. People should never deserve a promotion, they should earn it. Great companies will be able to identify which individuals will flourish within specific roles.

Each of us has experienced good and bad managers. Fortunately, we can learn from both. The weaker managers with their bad behaviors, habits, poor decision-making, and failures all provide us with invaluable experience. If you take a look back along your career, your good managers will be easy to identify. These are the people you still retain contact with, even after years of having worked together. You still bounce ideas, ask advice from, and network with them. They likely have become friends with you. The main difference between the good and bad, is that the good managers actually cared about you and the rest of their team. This is what separates managers from leaders. Leaders care about the individuals on their team, and understand what uniquely motivates each person. Leaders never ask their reports to do things they would not do themselves, or haven’t done themselves. Leaders are interested in the personal development of their team members, and do not avoid the career development plans or mentoring responsibilities. Leaders want each member on their team to succeed within their current role, as well as their future roles. Leaders do not hold down superstars.

Take this time to evaluate your current manager. If you are also a manager, evaluate yourself. Are you exhibiting leadership behavior, or are you just doing the job for the wrong reasons? Will your team follow you anywhere you go, or will they cheer the day they quit working for you?