I’m gonna let you in on a little secret that leads to major workplace conflicts. The skill set necessary for becoming the boss usually has little to do with the skill set necessary for being the boss.

People often get promoted for being the top performer in their position, for having technical prowess, or for having job longevity. Technical skills and social skills are two different things, and great managers seek out ways to improve their social skills even if their organization doesn’t offer this sort of training and development. Social skills allow a boss to walk the tightrope of providing feedback and constructive criticism without causing dejection and resentment. Here are a few key differences between being a manager and being a worker:


  • Seeking resources to complete your job
  • Trying to learn new skill sets
  • Open to mentoring, direction, and guidance
  • Sticking to deadlines
  • Working under pressure
  • Producing great work


  • Mentoring, directing, and guiding workers
  • Setting and communicating deadlines
  • Holding people accountable to deadlines
  • Evaluating and reporting on people’s work
  • Providing useful, honest, and difficult feedback
  • Providing resources to help people do their work
  • Developing workers’ skill sets
  • Fostering a culture of learning

Just because someone has the most technical knowledge, exhibits productivity, or has job longevity does not mean they have what it takes to be a great boss. The secret to being a great boss is knowing how to manage people and processes. Producing superior products or services is not enough. Top notch bosses should produce great employees.