there are three management types in the world (there are way more than three; i admit i’m over-simplifying): managers, rulers, and leaders.

managers have a task to complete. they create the work plan, hold people accountable for their individual parts, and don’t care what it takes to reach their end goal. canceling vacation? it’s necessary sometimes. constant status meetings? you need to know what work is or isn’t getting done. telling people to work overtime? someone has to get the job done. managers aren’t always well liked—although they sometimes can be—because it’s all about business to them. it’s hitting the next milestone, it’s keeping costs in check, it’s all about the earned value.

rulers have a sense of self-importance. they don’t create the work plans (they have someone do that for them), they don’t hold people accountable for their parts (they have someone do that for them), but they do love to inject their ways of doing things onto everyone else. they choose the processes, they plug people in where they decide where they should go, and they demand full and total obedience. don’t think, just follow. with rulers, it’s not even about business to them; it’s about self-serving and power grabbing. it’s all about strengthening their position.

leaders have a feeling of duty and accountability to their people. they don’t create the work plans, but they build the vision. they’re more concerned with maximizing potential than holding people accountable (because they realize an underperformer is trying to tell them something’s wrong). they identify the roadblocks to success and they find methods around them or through sheer force alone break down those walls to allow their people to do the work they need to and want to accomplish. leaders are almost always well-liked because it’s about the social aspect to them. they serve their people, and the people take care of the business.

which type do you prefer to work for? more important question: which type are you growing into?