Why You Are Better Off As An Employee (Than A Manager)

While working in the finance sector, I came across plenty of highly talented individuals who were brilliant employees. They performed, delivered results, and did highly acclaimed jobs in their projects. Some of them were even touted as the next manager or leader in the company. Few also went on to become leaders and bosses in their respective fields.

Yet, surprisingly, many of these exceptional employees fail to become brilliant bosses even when they have reached the throne. I looked into this strange phenomenon to figure out why this happened.

There are actually a few reasons why some of us are better as an employee than as a manager. If you find yourself not performing as good as you should be, once you reached management level, take a look at these signs to help you figure out what is wrong.

Recommended Reading: Manager Or Leader: Which Are You?

You are selfish

You are better suited as an employee than as a boss if you are selfish. If you don’t have enough enthusiasm or interest to worry about your colleagues or your subordinates, or if you don’t have the desire to be proactive about what is diminishing the performance of people you work with, you’re not managerial material.

Potential managers don’t just finish their work; they help others complete their tasks as well. I see this in a colleague of mine who was remarkably gifted in completed his tasks yet takes the time to ask others on what difficulties they faced, sometimes offering help, to get their job done.

He eventually went on to become a successful boss in a different company, simply because he felt for others and considered other’s tasks as his own. If this doesn’t sound like you, forget about becoming a manager.

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You can’t tolerate other’s nonsense

You are better suited as an employee than as a boss if you have a low tolerance for other people’s nonsense. Let me explain. You may find yourself working with a large group of people with many funny quirks and personalities, some good and fun, some bad and an everyday nuisance. For the latter, what you want to do is to stay far, far away from them. That is okay if you are an employee.

But as a manager, you can’t avoid dealing with these sorts of people. Even if you are tempted to punch them in the face, you have to keep yourself in check and tolerate their nonsense because they are there to work, and you are there to make sure they deliver, with or without their nonsense.

You can’t run from your staff problems. You have to face them headlong, and if you are a great manager, you can turn something terrible around and squeeze all the goodness out of them. Being a manager is sometimes a tough task, and highly compensated financially, simply because you have to do things you don’t want to.

Do you have listening skills?

Everyone loves to talk, but many experts have advised that if you want to be a manager, listening skills are an important skill to have as well. Many managers love to talk during interviews, meetings, presentations, sales pitches, etc. Sometimes they never stop or allow others to do the talking instead. Employees are expected to talk, to sell their personal brand, to show that they are delivering the results required of them. They can never stop talking.

Good managers, though, are good listeners. They listen to their employees, bosses, and clients, and pay attention to their grievances. They hear out the problems of the employees, try to read between the lines of what the boss’s requirements of the year is, and try to understand their company clients for any signs of fishy business. All for the good of the company.

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This also requires a lot of patience and problem-solving skills after amassing data from all quarters and figuring out the best next move for the team and/or company.

If you can’t read others

Like what was mentioned above, the ability to read others is a skill and crucial strength to have for a manager. A manager has to be able to read his employees to manage them efficiently. Reading people helps you understand their mindset, their tastes, and attitude. It also enables you to determine which approach to use when trying to get them to perform better.

If a manager can read his employees like a book, he is more likely to be able to keep them under control. But it is a skill that takes tons of personal experience in dealing with past problematic employees. Human nature is harder to predict than statistical data. Are you up for it?

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What if you are an introvert?

In my opinion, introverts are not made to be managers. A person who is too shy or afraid to speak his/her mind is going to let people walk all over them. If your managerial skills or leadership is challenged frequently, there is a chance you may lose the respect of others in the team. To have a manager lead a team that doesn’t respect his or her authority is a recipe for a chaotic office atmosphere.

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Managers may not need to be extroverts, but they have to be able to exercise greater control on day-to-day affairs in the office. They have to come in to lead, to manage, or to deal with problems with courage, understanding, and well-planned strategies. That said, not all things are rosy for the manager.

If you dread facing criticism

Some days will be better than others when you are a manager, and during the worse days, criticism will creep in slowly but surely. It is hard to keep everyone happy. If you rule with a tight-fist and deliver results, your subordinates may not like you as much as your boss does. If you let your team members flourish in their work but fail to provide the ROI required, then you’re still in hot soup.

However, the most important thing about dealing with criticism ishow you deal with the objection. Do you stick with your decision and let time show the company that you are right?

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Or do you shrink from your original plan and take the safer route? Do you shy away from criticism and controversy to ensure that you and your team deliver conservative results year in, year out, or do you pump courage into your organization to band together and weather the storm?

As an employee, you would love to have a manager who knows what he is doing. As a manager, there is no such safety net — you are the safety net.


Managers need to be made of hardened steel because they are accountable for everyone working at the office. It is a highly stressful and challenging job. You have to answer to a lot of things, some of them, beyond your control or your reach. And you will need to create strategies on the fly to fend off the incoming threat.

For many, a managers’ chair may be the ultimate goal but do consider the alternative. To live your dream job, you don’t necessarily have to be a manager.

If all you want to do is just that, your job, and dealing with the nasty side of people, company objectives, and keeping people happy is secondary or the total opposite of what you actually want to do with your life, then I promise you that you will be more comfortable staying a non-managerial employee.