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Regardless of your industry or job role, having a good boss – and being a good boss – is crucial for your team’s success. How crucial? Let’s consider the facts.

According to Gallup research, 70% of employee motivation is influenced by his or her manager. Additionally, motivated and engaged employees are 31% more productive. Even more, motivated and engaged employees are 87% less likely to quit!

Now that you’re a little more motivated to understand why being a boss is so important, let’s dive into three different approaches you can take starting with some simple definitions.


A Manager is someone who delivers on a known objective. They manage by handling, providing direction or control. The actions of a Manager are to control and solve problems, organize and staff, plan and budget, and to promote order and stability. Simply put: a Manager gives an instruction and everyone starts working.


Leaders deliver on a vision that is known by themselves and their followers. Frequently, the specifics of how to achieve the vision are unknown, unclear and have never been done before. Leaders guide, direct, and influence. Leading involves change. Typically, Leaders are motivating and inspiring, align people, establish direction and promote change.


To be a Coach is to partner with employees in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. Coaches are trained to listen, to observe and to customize their approach to individual needs. They believe the employee is naturally creative and resourceful. The Coach’s job is ultimately to enhance the skills, resources and creativity that the employee already has. It’s a powerful approach in helping identify and achieve an employee’s goals, objectives, values and vision.


There are unique situations to use each type of leadership style as mentioned above. Let’s dig into a few examples.


You need to take a Manager approach when there is a specific desired outcome and when the employee has a lower level of knowledge and experience. You don’t necessarily want change in this scenario, but rather stability and control.

An example of a time when you need to manage is when you hire a new employee with minimal experience, right out of high school or college, and doesn’t yet understand your business’s priorities, structure or culture. It’s important during the onboarding process to bring stability and set clear expectations. This is your time to give a lot of instruction and communicate rules, guidelines and processes. Ultimately, being a Manager is crucial during the first stage of career development.


Taking a Leader approach is required when there is a specific desired outcome and the employee is ready to elevate their knowledge or engagement. There is a need for change or to improve the status quo.

After your new employee has been fully on-boarded and trained, this is the time to lead them forward. Once an employee can see the company and team vision, they have more knowledge as to how they can impact the bottom line. They have “connected the dots” and can fully implement and execute their job duties to effectively grow the business.


Being a Coach is important when an employee brings ideas to help the company or team, or an employee wants change and to improve the status quo. These are times when an employee is fully engaged.

When an employee truly understands the company vision and long-term goals, they can recognize areas of improvement in themselves, the team and the company. They have a desire to create and improve their goals and find ways to creatively improve the business. This is when coaching thrives. During this time don’t give specific instructions – but motivate the employee to promote change and improvement in a new and unique way.


Finally, let’s look at the impacts that happen to both the employee and the boss within each of these three leadership styles.



  • Learns how to do things
  • Learns deadlines, working within parameters
  • Doesn’t promote independence or engagement


  • Raises engagement and works towards a provided vision or desired outcome
  • Learns to operate and embrace change
  • Still needed to provide vision and desired outcome to the employee


  • Fully engaged in the company and implements self-initiation
  • Learns to create their own vision and improvements
  • Allows them to improve their lives on their schedule professionally



  • Ensures processes are followed
  • Teaches the how-to and creates structure
  • Time consuming and narrow thinking


  • Brings change and improvement to the status quo
  • Allows the employee to operate outside their comfort zone
  • Gives more time to the manager to focus on developing the vision or desired outcomes


  • Gives the employee ownership of decisions and outcomes
  • Helps people develop to their goals and potential
  • Allows the manager the time to focus on new initiatives, teams and companies


Keep these three strategies in mind as you continue to develop your employees. It’s important to understand what situations need what type of guidance to ensure that your employees understand, are motivated and are knowledgeable enough to achieve their own and the company’s goals.

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