Leader vs Manager: What is the Difference?

Mar 06, 2021 3 Min Read
Understanding What a Manager is with a Leader

What makes you a good manager? Does being a good maager automatically make you a good leader? Is there a difference between leadership and management?

This is an age long debate - Leaders vs Managers. According to differencebetween:

  1. A manager manages and takes responsibility of a situation. A leader takes charge, is influential, and sets an example.
  2. The manager has responsibilities and is able to delegate and implement plans. A leader is an example for others and is someone who doesn’t necessarily have a large responsibility.
  3. Managers have subordinates who follow their rules. Leaders have individuals who believe in what they say, otherwise known as followers.
  4. Leaders focus on human emotion and charisma to lead. Managers focus on concise, scientifically proven methods to lead.

A successful business owner/CEO needs to be both a strong leader and a good manager to ensure success of the business. According to Go2HR, a strong leader has these traits:

  • Honesty & Integrity: are crucial to get your people to believe you and buy in to the journey you are taking them on
  • Vision: know where you are, where you want to go and enroll your team in charting a path for the future
  • Inspiration: inspire your team to be all they can by making sure they understand their role in the bigger picture
  • Ability to Challenge: do not be afraid to challenge the status quo, do things differently and have the courage to think outside the box
  • Communication Skills: keep your team informed of the journey, where you are, where you are heading and share any roadblocks you may encounter along the way

Whilst a strong manager, would have these traits

  • Being Able to Execute a Vision: take a strategic vision and break it down into a roadmap to be followed by the team
  • Ability to Direct: day-to-day work efforts, review resources needed and anticipate needs along the way
  • Process Management: establish work rules, processes, standards and operating procedures
  • People Focused: look after your people, their needs, listen to them and involve them

Harvard Business review summarises the differences as the following 3 major differences:

  1. Counting value (manager) vs Creating value (leader)
  2. Circles of power (manager) vs Circles of influence (leader)
  3. Managing Work (manager) vs Leading people (leader)

This infographic below best summarises the differences:

Share This

Shashi Kesavan is a leader at Leaderonomics and has great expertise in the media space. He is currently the Director of Special Projects and is leading the deployment of the Global Internship programme. In his spare time, Shashi plays football and runs to let off steam. He is currently producing a number of podcast shows.

You May Also Like

People watching

Do You Know Who’s Watching?

By Michelle Gibbings. We perform differently when we think people are watching us. Learn more about this here in this article.

Aug 22, 2022 4 Min Read


Raise Your Game: Failing Like A Champion

Dinesh Raj sheds insight on how to think, feel and act to emerge a winner when we don’t succeed.

Jun 29, 2015 21 Min Podcast


An Exclusive Interview With Chandran Nair, CEO of GIFT

Listen as Chandran Nair speaks out on various issues including the need for Asia to rise in its own narrative of success, independent of Western notions of what prosperity is, and why he says that “internet is one of the greatest threats to human civilisation”.

May 08, 2015 22 Min Video

Be a Leader's Digest Reader