Two people can approach a goal or a task in different ways. It is their ways that make all the difference. In an organization, when someone is given the job of a manager, it goes without saying that this person has to hold a heavy responsibility on his or her shoulder. But, the approach that this person takes decides if he or she is only a manger or can be called a leader too.
Leader Vs manager fight has existed all along in corporate culture. Nowadays, it’s coming on the fore all the more because of more youngsters taking the role of leaders. The way leaders approach a problem and tackle situations has also changed over the years. Thus, for some people, it is still hard to understand what is the real difference between a manager and a leader.
In this article, we will highlight how both leaders vs managers professions get the work done but have their own unique ways. We do not intend to put one against the other. Our aim is to highlight the difference in leaders vs managers.
Between a leader and a manager, no one is above the other. Both are required in an organization and deserve a huge amount of respect. One shouldn’t take pressure to be better than the other, however, there are always new things to learn from one another.
Who is a Leader?
Leaders convert a goal into a vision. They make the entire team see a vision and further, inspire and motivate them to work towards it. Some common qualities of a good leader are delegation, communication, transparency, empathy, passion, integrity, honesty, etc. Leaders lead by example instead of just ordering and managing the team members. In fact, leaders are not always the bosses or at a higher position. They can be anyone, in any position.
Leaders mostly have phenomenal skills to face risks and challenges. They are not scared of trying out a new path. They support out of the box thinking and try to go to any length for ideas that they believe in. Leaders don’t mind challenging high authorities if they have made up their minds about something. They create a comfortable space for everyone to pitch their ideas and thoughts.
Who is a Manager?
The main job of a manager is to manage people and get the work done. You can look at good managers and realize how their main aim is to always meet the deadlines and deliver the work. Managing people is a lot different from leading people because leaders look at the bigger picture while managers have to concentrate on small goals. Managers rarely take risks and challenges.
They don’t prefer to question the status quo and like to work under set guidelines and rules. Managers also have to control their subordinates or people who work for them. The main qualities of a good manager are organizing, managing, controlling, etc. Not all managers are good leaders. Managers don’t always inspire people or motivate them. They just focus on getting the work done. This is also the reason why people who work for managers are rarely very happy with their professional life.
Leader Vs Manager
- Leaders encourage while manager orders
- Leaders motivate while managers control
- Leaders create visions while managers work on small goals
- Leaders create relationships while managers build employees
- Leaders ask what and why while managers ask when and how
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”—President Dwight D. Eisenhower
1. Difference in How They Communicate
Communication is a skill that both managers and leaders have to possess. However, they both use this powerful tool in different ways. Managers tell or order people who work for them while leaders sell an idea. They share the goal and idea in a way that the entire team feels motivated to achieve them. They don’t just order and wait for delivery.
They become part of the whole process by actively involving in the process of brainstorming. Leaders create a very safe and secure place for the team members to share their reservations and ideas. A strong leader also ensures that the team members feel comfortable enough to share their problems if they feel stuck somewhere.
2. Difference in How They Influence
Managers focus on getting a job done. Thus, they have different ways of influencing the team. Leaders, on the other hand, inspire and motivate the team to do better. They entertain new ideas and don’t discourage the team to question the status quo. Leaders also lead by example so they don’t just say but they also show.
Managers sometimes try to control a situation while leaders don’t do the same. Leaders also focus on the professional development of an individual while managers only focus on the goal.
3. Difference in The Outlook for New Things
Leaders want to try new things without worrying about failing. They encourage others to do so. Managers are not much of risk-takers. They follow the old pattern and style of finishing a task. They are scared of taking risks. Leaders are of the opinion that nothing is bigger than learning a new skill and failing at it at the start but then emerging from the failures.
Leaders have people look up to them for the same reasons. If there are 10 different ways to do a thing, a leader will always encourage the team to pick the way that teaches and challenges everyone the most. This also makes working with leaders really fun and interesting.
4. Difference in How They Create Goals
Managers often make small goals and work towards achieving them. Leaders on the other hand like to think big. It is very difficult for anyone to stay motivated for a big goal but leaders find ways to inspire themselves and the team for a bigger and larger picture.
They like to push the limit. Leaders keep short goals in mind but still lead them towards a bigger plan. Once the managers meet their goals, they are happy but leaders continue to expand.
5. Difference in The Impact They Create
The biggest difference between a leader and a manager is in the impact they both create on their team or on people who work with them. Leaders leave an impact that most people remember and carry with them for years. Managers don’t believe in building relationships.
Leaders with their communication skills, empathy, transparency, etc build strong connections with people. They also become mentors for people they lead. Managers create only good employees but leaders create people with good skill sets and visions.
6. Difference in the Kind of Questions They Ask
A manger mostly cares about how and when a task will be done. On the other hand, a leader focuses on why and what. Managers also have people that they report to, thus, they just want a job to be done on time. Leaders tend to introspect why a task to be done.
They also reverse decisions if need be. After every difficult situation, leaders want to know what did they learn from the experience and how they can use the experience to ensure that mistakes are not repeated again. Managers in such situations often move on quickly without evaluating the problem.
Leader vs Manager Quotes
1. “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”– Peter Drucker
2. “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.”– Stephen Covey
3. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”– Dwight D. Eisenhower
4. “You don’t lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.”– Dwight D. Eisenhower
5. “The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.”– Warren G. Bennis
6. “Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.”– Stephen Covey
7. “The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.”– Warren G. Bennis
8. “To lead people, walk behind them.”– Lao Tzu
9. “Leadership is the key to 99 percent of all successful efforts.”– Erskine Bowles
10. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”– Steve Jobs
People like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King are the best examples of leaders who led the people in the masses. These people created a vision and people believed in them. They made their voices heard by giving importance to everyone’s voice. These people solved great problems with ease and comfort because they didn’t give up at failures. They learned from them and emerged stronger.
In the times we live in, we are in need of more and more leaders. Leaders can show many people a clear path and direction. Leadership and management are two very different skills, so leaders vs managers. Both of these skills are important but those who are good at managing should try to expand and learn to lead too. A good manager can indeed become a good leader if they try.
Ankita calls herself a road-child because of her love for road trips and landscapes. A journalist turned digital nomad, she is either telling stories or looking outside the car window aimlessly. She has traveled most of India by road, and encourage other women to take such life-changing journeys. Ankita is also a mental health advocate and a survivor herself. She likes to tell her story through writing and photography, with the aim to change at least some lives.