Most Managers are Administrators not LEADERS

 In Leadership, Leadership Development, management, Rick Conlow

Are you looking for a way to accelerate your team’s success? If you are–READ ON! You will be shown how most managers are administrators, not leaders as they focus on activities not people. The definition of an administrator is:

  • a person responsible for running a business, organization, or department
  • a person who performs official duties in some sphere
  • a person who deals out punishment when things don’t go right or well
Research demonstrates that managers fulfill this definition by doing many other things rather than leading. They spend their time running their departments, doing reports, dealing with work procedures, completing documents, attending meetings, dealing with customers, following up emails and other requests, planning, reviewing strategy, engaging other internal operations, and dealing with problems. When it doesn’t go well the employees bear the burden of the problem, can you relate? While all of these things have to be done to some degree, you can argue that these are elements of leadership. However, research shows employees seem to be left out of many of these activities, and the disengaged are at record levels.

Additional research shows the average manager works 49.4 hours per week. Only 18% of a work day–or less than 2 hours per day–are focused on the team through leadership or “people management.” In the areas of coaching, team-building, training and mentoring; managers average only about 2.8 hours a week.

Managers do this because:

  1. It’s often expected by the organization, contrary to stated values or corporate training.
  2. They have personally bought into system of what every other manager seems to do.
  3. They are complacent and it’s easier (at least they think it is) than finding a more effective collaborative approach.

How to Accelerate Your Career Beyond Other Managers

You become a leader by doing those things that other managers don’t do. Real leaders don’t punish employees or abdicate responsibility; they inspire people. They invest more time in the higher payoff activities to improve employee communication, motivation, engagement and buy-in. Why not double, triple, or quadruple your time team-building, training, coaching and mentoring? Most employees will then have to learn to work with you differently as you change.

For example, if you have a cross-functional meeting to attend, bring one of your key employees or send them instead of you attending. They learn new information, you can delegate some of the work, and coach them to be more effective. In another example, let’s say you handle a few key customers. You can begin to introduce these accounts to another capable employee, and develop the employee to take over. Your goal is to include employees in as many other activities as possible. As you do, you coach them to do it well and delegate the responsibility, which frees you up to focus on other priority activities.

Bottom-line, this is work, but you end up seamlessly leading your team to do this on many fronts while simultaneously getting more done in less time, as well as empowering your team with new responsibilities and accountability. This will increase your team’s performance and loyalty because of the trust you establish.

How to make this work

As leader you have to be a student of the game, commit to your development in needed communication, coaching and people skills. This means on-going personal development and leadership mentoring, coaching, and training. You also need to genuinely value helping your team win and doing it with integrity. You may not want to do this or even enjoy it at first but to separate yourself from others, it’s a “have to.” The payoff for you is a higher performing team, dramatically better results and more career opportunities. Consider these quotes:

“I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” Winston Churchill

” I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Robert Frost


Managers are administrators not leaders

Rick and his business partner Doug published these approaches in their book, Superstar Leadership. They created the Superstar Leadership Model as a way to remember and apply the principles.

 For leadership coaching, consulting and training services call here: 1-612-868-8521 or contact






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