Manager Vs. Leader: What Are The Main Differences?

Managing people is different than leading people. A manager is a person who is responsible for controlling part of a company or organization. A manager can learn to be an effective leader and by doing so, will be a more effective manager. There are several differences between a manager and a leader.


Managers Create Goals, Leaders Create Visions

Managers will focus on setting, measuring and achieving goals. They will control situations so that their objectives will be reached. Leaders will inspire and engage people while creating a vision and encouraging those on their team to turn the vision into reality. Also learn the difference between boss and leader.


Managers Maintain Status Quo, Leaders Initiate Change

Managers are content to stay with what works for the company. They only focus on tweaking the system and making the processes better. A leader is willing to embrace change and disrupt the status quo. They are always looking for a better way to accomplish goals.


Managers are Copycats, Leaders are Unique

Managers will mimic what has worked in the past rather than think outside the box and find new ways of meeting goals and being successful. Leaders are willing to think outside the box and try new things to make something work. They are comfortable with being unique.


Managers Control Risk, Leaders Take Risks

A manager’s job is to minimise risk. They will try to avoid or control problems instead of embracing them and turning them into something workable. Leaders are willing to take risks and try new things. Failure does not deter them since they know that failure is a step on the pathway to success.


Managers Think Long-Term, Leaders Think Short-Term

Managers focus on short-term goals and the best way to reach those goals. They seek acknowledgement or accolades for reaching goals, therefore the more short-term goals they reach, the better they look. Leaders focus on the long-term goals and stay motivated to reach it. They thrive on motivating others towards reaching those goals.


Managers Build Systems, Leaders Build Relationships

Managers are focused on the actual structures of the business and doing what is necessary to set and achieve goals. They are more intent on analytical data and putting systems in place to reach goals. Leaders are more focused on people and how to build strong relationships while working toward the goals of the company. They build loyalty and trust by time and again delivering on their promises.


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Managers Direct, Leaders Coach

Managers are at their best when they can assign tasks to their employees and provide the necessary guidance to accomplish them. They expect those on their team to step in and do as they are told. Leaders encourage their team members to seek answers and find alternative ways to accomplish goals while building stronger relationships.



  • Will create set goals for their employees to reach.
  • Will create visions and encourage their employees to find ways to reach the goals.
Will keep to the status quo. Will initiate change and find new ways of accomplishing tasks.
Will follow examples of past managers and copy their successes. Will find unique ways to motivate their team.
Think short-term. Think long-term.
Will direct their employees. Will coach their employees.


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