Leader Vs Manager

Leader Vs Manager: Must Know Differences Between A Leader And A Manager

Leadership 26th September, 2023 8 Mins Read

Leader vs manager.

Although both words seem to have some similarities, they differ a lot in the professional world. There is a huge difference between leading and managing a group of people. Both the words leading and managing have significant distinctions between them. 

However, many of us often mistake one for the other, which can lead to small to huge levels of misconceptions.

Go through this article to understand who a leader is and who a manager is. 

Leader Vs. Manager! Or Vision Vs. Goals

There is a huge difference between a leader and a manager based on how they operate. A leader is a visionary who dreams and creates a picture that he shares with his team. They work to turn a vision into reality. Their thought process works differently from that of a manager. They stimulate people to believe in their vision and make them an active part of their journey.

They are aware of the fact that high-functioning teams can achieve more while working together than working isolatedly. 

Conversely, managers are more goal-oriented individuals; they set a goal and work towards achieving it with their resources. They have to control different situations and reach the goal or even exceed their objective. Their measures are more calculative, meticulous, and based on logic.

Read More: Must Have Leadership Skills To Exercise For Any Managerial Role

Ushering Change Vs. Maintaining The Status Quo

Leaders are disruptors, dreamers, and forward thinkers. The rules of tradition do not bind them. A leader is efficient in adapting to new changes. Although something might be working smoothly, they will still try to find a way around it and do something to change that. They understand that changing any system can affect all that is related to it. 

Managers, on the other hand, are more structured and calculative. They are ready to stick with the process that works and try to refine the existing system. Their skills to work within the system and refine it is what makes them a manager. 

Leaders Are Unique. Managers Copy

Leaders do not follow a tried and tested path. They are ready to take risks and find a new and different path. A leader is always comfortable with who they are. They are very self-aware and are always vocal about who they are and their personal brand. A leader is comfortable and strong in their own shoes. They are also ready to stand on their own two feet. 

A manager’s leadership style might not be inherent, and it might not be embedded into their personality. They learn different managerial qualities from others. They mimic other leaders’ behaviors, competencies, and skills and follow their footsteps. Simply put, a manager must adopt their leadership skills from others. 

Risk Takers Vs. Risk Managers

A leader does not compromise when it comes to taking a risk and trying new things. Their ability to take risks, even if they might fail miserably, often helps them succeed. They can step on countless failures to reach a point of success. 

A manager, on the other hand, does not see failure much as an option. While a leader can go to certain lengths to take risks, a manager would try their best to minimize those risks. They would want to avoid risks instead of taking them and facing them head-on. They can keep things stable by avoiding the risk and volatility that meddling with unnecessary risks can have.

A Long-Term Pursuer Vs. Short Term Achiever

Here is another difference between a leader and a manager. Leaders demonstrate commitment by consistently pursuing long-term objectives and maintaining motivation without immediate gratification. They can keep pursuing something until they achieve it. So, time does not affect how they think of a goal.

In contrast, managers focus on short-term goals, seeking frequent recognition and rewards for their accomplishments. This can also be beneficial when a manager breaks a goal into short-term tasks and achieves them step by step. Leaders prioritize intentionality and perseverance, while managers are driven by short-term acknowledgment and accolades. Both have their merits and demerits. 

Experimentation Vs. Perfection

Leaders are more self-aware and always evaluate whether they are learning something. They do not want to stand still or stay stuck with one skill. They are constantly breaking down the system and trying to make out a new meaning of the existing system. Or they are trying to create something entirely new while teaching themselves something in that process. Their passion is to stay relevant in the changing work environment and the changing world.

While a leader might want to take an off-road path, a manager would oil their wheels so that they can race faster on the same track. A manager always wants to take the tried and tested path ( avoiding risks) and polish their existing skills to double down their inputs. 

Building Relationship Vs. Building Processes

Leaders focus on people they want to work with. They are willing to build relationships. They are always caring and attending to those people who see their vision and are willing to work with them. A leader would spend most of their time with these people. They consistently deliver on their promise, thereby building trust and loyalty among the people they work with. 

Their emphasis lies in analytical processes and establishing effective systems for achieving desired results. They collaborate with individuals to align with their personal goals and objectives. For them, it is the process that helps them achieve something, and collaboration with people is the means for that. 

Coaching Vs. Directing

Leaders are aware of the competencies and the skills of their people. They know that their teams are capable of finding solutions to their problems. All they need is a little coaching from their leaders. Their optimism and belief resist them from delivering orders. Instead, they want to influence them to work.

Managers, on the other hand, work on a task-oriented basis. They assign different tasks to their teams and expect them to achieve those tasks for them. They work by providing their teammates with directions.

Having Followers Vs. Employees

A leader builds followers who trust and believe in them. The belief that they generate creates a difference and inspires people to believe in their vision. A leader can often create a fanbase and have people cheering them up. 

Managers, on the other hand, work with employees who feel no personal connection to whatever vision or project they are working for. The employees are there for their employment alone and would fulfill their tasks as per their managers’ direction since they are bound by a contract.

Characteristic Traits Of A Leader

Leaders are those individuals who may not have or display a lot of power; rather, they would use the assistance of other individuals to be able to accomplish a goal. A great leader is a person who can easily pull this off everyday and under all circumstances.

Here are some of the leadership skills and characteristic traits that every leader must have within them to be able to become a successful leader:


Leaders are individuals with a plan. They need to have their eyes set on one goal, and under no circumstance should they ever divert from their goals. They are also the ones who are responsible for motivating others to reach their goals by directing and guiding them in the correct ways.


An efficient leader needs to be transparent with the people he is working with. Honesty would help reduce miscommunication and any such internal conflict within the team.


A leader is required to be an empathetic human being, as that will help them develop a solid bond with the team. Moreover, being empathetic to others would help the leader address and solve every problem that their team comes up with.

Communication Skills:

Leaders need to possess communication skills of a great level. Not only do they have to be transparent with their team, but they also share each of the successes and failures with the team.

Creativity and Open-Mindedness:

A good leader is an individual who is welcoming to new ideas and accepting the perspectives of other people. Being an effective and good leader would mean understanding that there are no correct ways of doing things; it is all just about perspectives. Therefore, a good leader always needs to be ready to observe, listen, and be willing to change. They also need to be extraordinary thinkers and also encourage their team to do the same.

Characteristic Traits Of A Manager

A manager, on the other hand, is the backbone that a company can have. They are the ones that are responsible for the seamless functioning of the business. The responsibility of a manager ranges from monitoring everyday activities to managing human resources to undertaking difficult tasks; a manager needs to possess some out-of-the-box characteristic traits.

Here are some of the character traits that a manager must possess to ensure the smooth functioning of the business:


A manager is someone who is responsible for monitoring everyday business transactions. Therefore, they need to be controlled in order to get the desired results.


A good manager needs to address all the issues of the team. He needs to motivate them to function at their peak under any circumstance. They need to implement the correct work ethic and culture within the team and make sure everyone is following it.

Good Communicator:

A good manager needs to strive to become an efficient communicator. Managers act as the key between the senior management and the junior management. Therefore, they would have to maintain good interpersonal skills to make sure there is no conflict within the company.

Read More: 8 Best Leadership Strengths To Master To Transition Into The Role Of A Team Lead


Both roles have some merits and demerits. A leader might want to disrupt a system. But they can risk an entire stable system in the process. A manager might keep a system running and avoid risks to sustain the system. However, their adherence to tried and tested processes creates room for rigidity. They are not ready to embrace changes and usher in innovations. 

So, between leader and manager, which one are you? Comment below and let us know your point of view.

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Shahnawaz is a passionate and professional Content writer. He loves to read, write, draw and share his knowledge in different niches like Technology, Cryptocurrency, Travel,Social Media, Social Media Marketing, and Healthcare.

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