Growing From Manager To Leader

Management is about taking care of processes, procedures, policies, things, and numbers. Leadership is about taking care of people. If you take care of your people, then everything else will take care of itself.

Since I started my career in engineering in 1999, I have mostly experienced being managed by my engineering supervisor or manager. There has been the rare occasion when I have worked with an engineering leader or leaders.

1. Being Managed Not Led

But in my experience, engineering management is what I have received from the “leadership team.” This is what most people experience throughout the world in all industries.

How have you experienced working with a supervisor or manager, or even higher? How do you feel when working with your supervisor or manager?

How does your supervisor or manager help you perform to your best for yourself and your team? How does your supervisor or manager treat you? How important is it?


How do your team experience you as their supervisor or manager, or even higher? How does your team feel when working with you? How do you help your team perform to their best for themselves, for their teammates and for you? How important do your team feel? How important is this to you?

For you to strive towards reaching your full potential as a highly effective leader, you must first work on yourself. Leadership is about others, but it starts with you. Becoming a highly effective leader is very difficult, but it is a decision you must make if you want to reach your full potential.

2. Working On Yourself

You must start by looking within yourself, and not look outward blaming others for any issues that have happened in the past. Most people throughout the world do look outwards and blame others, but as a highly effective leader, you must not do that.

As you are reading this article, I am hoping that you are making the decision to become a highly effective leader. You may have the title of manager or supervisor, but what you can’t do is manage people like you would manage things or numbers.

You must lead and influence people because they are human beings. The title of manager or supervisor only refers to your position of authority, not how you lead your team.

Any managers or supervisors who don’t believe in becoming a highly effective leader and want to manage their people like things or numbers then this article isn’t for them.

But those managers or supervisors who do believe in becoming a highly effective leader, then this article is for them. Is that you?

It is not that difficult to manage people like they are things or numbers because of the position of authority and power that the title gives you. But becoming a highly effective leader and increasing your influence with your people in a positive way is a lot more difficult.

Managers and supervisors mainly look after themselves, and don’t put their team of people first. Highly effective leaders put their people first because they want to make them their priority.

As you are reading this it is likely that you are a manager or supervisor, but there is a chance you may be head of department or even director. So, don’t get me wrong, if you are in the management position then you will absolutely have to manage policies, procedures, things, and numbers.

But if you are the head of department or director, and all you want to do is lead, then you have a team of managers to do the managing for you.

3. Leading Your People

Being in a manager or supervisor position gives you that position of authority over your people. Most managers and supervisors will choose to manage their people because it is easier than leading them. But if you do that then it is highly likely that your people won’t be working with you for much longer.

But, if you choose to lead your people then it is highly likely that they will continue working with you, and even go that extra mile for you and the team.

Since I started working in the engineering industry in 1999, most of the bosses I have had made the decision to manage us rather than lead us. There have been a few that made the decision to lead and influence us, and I will never forget them for as long as I live.

Have you ever been asked the question, “who do you work for?” It is highly likely that you have. Well, a leader knows that you don’t work for them, you work with them. A manager doesn’t know, they believe that you work for them.

The people who report to you, or the people who you have direct impact with, do they work for a manager or supervisor, or do they work with a highly effective leader?

If you asked them this question, they would know the answer straight away. Ask yourself this question, “Do you work for a manager or supervisor, or do you work with a highly effective leader?” You instantly know the answer to this question, don’t you?

Your team of people, and you knew the answers to these questions before you even thought about starting to read this article.

When you’re around a manager who manages you and others, how do you feel? You generally feel bad, like you would rather be around someone else. When you’re around a highly effective leader who leads you and increases their positive influence with you, how do you feel?

You feel great, inspired, motivated, and you want to do well for him/her and for the team you are a part of.

I love to share many leadership principles that have helped me throughout my career as an engineer and as an engineering leader. The principles I share with you will help you in your career and help you become a highly effective leader.

4. Making An Important Decision

But you must make the decision to learn these principles and practice them. You must make the decision and ask yourself, “do I want to grow into a highly effective leader?” I hope the answer is YES!

Most of what I learned has come from my own time being in engineering leadership positions, from the engineering managers and leaders I have worked with, from engineers who didn’t have formal leadership positions, but I and others saw as leaders.

During my time as an engineer and being in an engineering leadership position, I made mistakes and had failures, but I didn’t use them as excuses to give up. I used them as opportunities to learn and keep moving forward.


I love to share some of these mistakes and failures with you so you can learn to do the same if you’re not already doing this of course.

Everything I share I have practiced in my own life as an engineer and engineering leader, and I know others who have practiced what I share because I worked alongside them and witnessed it.

I share principles that I have learned myself through reading many leadership books, attending leadership courses, taken online leadership, personal growth and influencing courses, and attending webinars/seminars on these topics.

You are reading this article already, so I am guessing that what you are about to learn from my website inspires you to learn, take action and share what you learn with your team of people, and your friends and family. I hope so.

A manager or supervisor grows into a highly effective leader because of how he/she takes action for their people. A highly effective leader makes very tough decisions through his/her confidence, courage, and the compassion to listen to their people first.

I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.

Check out my other articles by Clicking HERE

All the best,

Tom (LeadGrowInfluence)

8 thoughts on “Growing From Manager To Leader

  1. This post really hits home for me. It reminds me how true leadership is about caring for and inspiring people, not just managing tasks. Thank you for sharing such valuable and heartfelt insights.

    1. Hi Michael,

      I am really pleased that this article resonated with you, and I hope you can take action on what you have learned today.

      I hope you return to read through more of my articles and keep leaving your thoughts.

      All the best,


  2. Enjoyed this article very much, Tom, as it hits at the essence of getting the most from the people in your organization cooperatively instead of feeling forced to get things done in a certain way. Inspired leadership considers the unique attributes of each team member and welcomes their input and suggestions. This leads to a high-producing group that takes pride in their work and accomplishments.

    1. Hi Joseph,

      It means the world that you enjoyed my article, thank you for your very kind words.

      I hope you can share this with your own people and help them to take action on what they learn, as well as you you do.

      All the best,


  3. Excellent article, Tom. And I agree with you, no-one likes to be managed. Being led feels completely different. It’s push vs pull, stick vs carrot.

    Have you ever come across Shirzad Chamine’s amazing book and program on Positive Intelligence? It explains why most people manage rather than lead in today’s high stress workplaces.

    Stress causes us to spend more time using our survival brain, acting out of fear, whereas when we are calm, our pre-frontal cortex is more dominant, and that’s when we our Sage brain takes over, and we start making wiser choices.

    Practicing daily PQ reps helps us move faster and more often into the Sage brain,

    This helps us be the leaders we were born to be.

    1. Hi Lauren,

      Thank you for your comment, means the world to me.

      I appreciate you sharing Shirzad Chamine’s book and program with me, and I hope others who are reading this can learn about this through your comment. I will definitely take a look at it and understand their view on why people manage rather than lead.

      Keep sharing your own inspirational message with the world and increasing your influence with us every day.

      All the best,


  4. Tom this is very well put! I was a lead manager for 8 years and it could be very difficult to do things my way because I had to please my boss. I had a very hard time with it because I looked at my staff as equals to me I never asked them to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. I felt they deserved the same respect that they would give me. I finally left my position due to the stress and the disrespect that my boss had toward our employees it was just to much to deal with. This is a great way to teach others how to be a leader with respect and dignity toward all of their employees

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      Thank you for sharing your insights on my article, I am pleased that this resonated with you due to your experience as a lead manager.

      I appreciate you sharing your experiences with your boss and I hope others who read this and have similar experiences can learn from you too.

      Keep taking action on what you learn and share what you learn with your people.

      All the best,


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