The Unmistakable difference between a Hero Manager and a Monster Manager

In my writing and coaching, I often use the labels Monster Manager and Hero Manager. These concepts make it fun to sort out behaviors that we either want to display as leaders or want to reject.

Here’s what each of these characters look like when they show up at your workplace.

Monster Managers

  1. Monster Managers think their job is to control other people, which never works.

  2. As a result, they’re often frustrated, overwhelmed, mad, and unhappy.

  3. They’re prone to losing their temper.

  4. Monsters blame others when things don’t go according to plan, avoid deep and difficult conversations, and rarely, if ever, apologize.

  5. And their negative energy affects everyone around them.

  6. Their habit is to look for the things that are wrong.

  7. They expect others to change but don’t focus on their own growth.

And these habits carry over into other areas of their life, including their relationships with loved ones and even their relationship with themselves.

Have you ever had a manager who often shows up as a Monster?

Hero Managers

  1. Hero Managers are leaders. They know that it’s impossible to control other people. Instead, they lead by providing the people around them with a model to follow.

  2. They work hard at managing their own internal state.

  3. They smile and laugh often and stay calm and resourceful when things do go according to the plan.

  4. They give compliments and commendation to the people around them.

  5. Their energy attracts others. People on their team enjoy meeting with them and having conversations about personal growth and improvement.

  6. When someone brings them a problem, they ask questions and coach the individual to focus on solutions.

  7. They approach life with gratitude and appreciation.

  8. They have a habit of always searching for ways to bring value to others. As a result, they enjoy their relationships at work and in the rest of their life.

Aren’t Hero Managers awesome? Have you ever had a manager who shows up as a Hero?

Mindset Makes the Difference

You can see that the difference between a Monster and Hero Manager comes down to mindset.

Heroes are focused on growth. Monsters are focused on surviving.

Heroes come to work to lead. Monsters come to work to control.

Heroes show up to serve. Monsters show up to be served.

Our individual mindset affects everything we do.

Hero or Monster?

The truth is, all of us have a Monster and a Hero within. And none of us will ever be a perfect leader 100% of the time.

Every moment of every day you and I either become a little better or a little worse. We become a little more like a Hero or a little more like a Monster.

And each meeting, conversation, and choice we make is a vote we cast for our identity as one or the other.

The best part is, there is always time to make a shift and take a huge step forward in the direction we really want to go.

Today is the best day to check in on your mindset and make sure you’re focused on what you need to do to become the manager and leader you want to be.

In the past week or so, what are some of the times that you were most proud of how you showed up as a Hero Manager?

What might be one of the easiest steps you might take to experience more times like those?

In the past week or so, what was one of the times that you noticed a little bit of a Monster Manager showing through at work?

Play a movie in your mind of that situation happening again but this time, notice yourself handling it as a Hero Manager?

What was one of the most valuable things you noticed in that scene?

What might be one of the easiest steps you could take to shift your mindset the next time a situation like that happens?


Nate Sleger is a career manager, management coach, and author of The Manager’s Self-Coaching Guide. His course Show Up At Work Like A Superhero has been taken by hundreds of managers worldwide. He currently lives and works in Wisconsin, USA.

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