What are the Differences between Managers and Leaders?

With managers and leaders typically talked about in the same framework, they are both typically – and somewhat incorrectly – seen to be very similar, or even as pretty much the same thing. Whilst there’s definitely a few extremely apparent resemblances between them, a leader and a manager should be viewed as separate beings, with each one contending differing mind-sets and usually establishing differing methods via their allocated purposes as part of a company.


So that we can establish the differences between management and leadership, we’ve looked at 4 points from the list and interpreted their meanings:

1. The manager imitates; the leader originates

Leaders are original, in the sense that they’re often the people responsible for establishing the main corporate plan of action that then sifts throughout a business. As it filters throughout, it gets to the managers, who then hand it over and replicate it to their team members and staff; in other words, they are imitating the leadership’s original plans and actualising it into practical use.

2. The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people

In getting the work completed, the manager’s involvement in human resources will primarily and mainly be on their skill level and capabilities. In the end, their main concern is that the task gets finished and is finished accurately. Simultaneously, so that the company runs as swimmingly as possible, a leader’s attention will be leaning towards people more specifically, especially those making up the management team directly below them in the chain of command.

3. The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust

The manager must be in control – it’s fundamental to be in control of workloads and staff and can therefore sadly depict them in a bad way, in other words it might not make them very popular. The role for leaders is to inspire trust and inspire workers to have faith in their work and the business. Be warned however: an untrustworthy manager can assist in making a leader appear untrustworthy, whilst an untrustworthy leader can help to make a business or organisation look untrustworthy as well.

4. The manager maintains; the leader develops

The manager’s responsibility is to ensure that the business continues to perform as an well-oiled, efficient machine. It’s the leader’s concern to grow and develop the business on a regular basis and for a manager to then maintain and take care of that growth and development via their management abilities.

With some of the differences between managers and leaders outlined above, management in particular is often portrayed in a more negative light than leadership. However, both leaders and managers are important when operating in unison:

Leadership without management can result in fantastic ideas and theory, but could potentially ignore right and effective implementation. Management without leadership on the other hand might result in well-managed staff and tasks, but may lack direction and might miss possible opportunities.

Therefore it is hugely important that not only both management and leadership are practiced, but that they are both practiced hand in hand, together, efficiently and effectively. If this is true then a business has the best possible chance at success, present and future.
By John Benson

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