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What is the Difference Between a Leader and a Manager

What is the difference between a leader and a manager

There is a difference between being a leader, and being a manager.

We define a "leader" as "the person in a team who is responsible for setting the goals, communicating them to the rest of the team, inspiring the team to achieve the goal, and acting as a positive role model" Napoleon Bonaparte would be an example of a leader.

A manager, on the other hand, is "The person in a team who is responsible for organising and planning and implementing the achievement of the goal, in the most efficient manner possible".

Most people need to have both leadership and management qualities

Your leadership qualities are a measure of your ability:

  1. To set goals
  2. To communicate in a persuasive manner
  3. To inspire others to take action in the direction of your goals
  4. To act as a positive role model to others

Your management qualities are a measure of your ability:

  1. To organise resources
  2. To plan ahead
  3. To prioritise tasks
  4. To delegate the right job to the right people
  5. To get the job done, on time, and to the proper standard, without too much drama

Some people are good leaders but terrible managers

Some people are inspirational, in that they come up with good ideas, but they are not good managers, they don't have any practical plans to make their grand visions a reality.

Some people are good managers, but terrible leaders

These types are good with systems; good at process; but not good with people. They antagonise and disrespect others; so their plans go awry, because they cannot secure the cooperation of the rest of the team.

You need to be both a good leader and a good manager

You need to develop yourself in both fields, so that you can easily combine the two sets to become the perfect blend of inspirational leader, and practical manager.

To become an effective leader manager is a worthwhile goal.

You need to combine your leadership and management skills so that you are more able:

  1. To set goals and achieve them
  2. To communicate in a clear and persuasive manner
  3. To inspire others to take action in the direction of your ideas and goals
  4. To act as a positive role model to others
  5. To show them, rather than tell them, how it's done
  6. To organise resources
  7. To be an efficient time manager
  8. To plan ahead
  9. To prioritise tasks into their proper order
  10. To delegate the right job to the right people
  11. To get the job done, on time, and to the proper standard, without too much drama

The meaning of Leadership

Leadership is the act of selecting a clear, distinct and valuable goal, and then inspiring other people to act to achieve the goal. Leadership therefore requires the ability to effectively communicate, so that people understand the goal and are motivated to act in accordance with it.

The meaning of management

Management is the art of proper planning and efficient implementation of the plan.

Management is the act of organising, prioritising and preparing resources; arranging for all the actions necessary to achieve the goal, (which was set out by the leadership) to be taken, in the correct way, and in the correct order, so as to achieve the goal in the most efficient manner possible.

What is a Leader-Manager?

The ideal would be to become a leader-manager: a person who combines the qualities of leadership with the qualities of management. Such a person would tend to do well in whatever organisation he or she worked.

Leader-managers are those special people who have both sets of abilities

So a Leader-manager is defined as:

"A member of a team or organisation who is primarily responsible for the communication of a clear goal, together with the logical, enthusiastic and intelligent organisation of resources, that will achieve the goal in the most efficient manner possible."

What are the attributes of a leader-manager?

The leader-manager is the person with the combined qualities of leadership and management.

They therefore have the following six major abilities, in abundance:

  1. The ability to set worthwhile and valuable long range goals
  2. The ability to communicate the goals to others so that people want to get involved
  3. The ability to build practical plans of action that will achieve the goal, in the most efficient manner possible
  4. The ability to manage difficult people, or people whose performance drops below standard, or whose actions contradict the plan: the ability to handle conflict
  5. The ability to manage oneself: meaning, the ability to develop self-confidence, self-motivation, courage, determination and optimism
  6. The ability to inspire, in others, the same feelings; the ability to make other people feel more confident, more motivated, more determined and more optimistic

If you'd like to become a better leader and/or manager, we offer our Leadership & Management course. For more information, visit our course page.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Leadership and Management

  • Leadership and management development
    The ability to self-motivate; self-manage; to develop self-confidence and personal initiative Your leader managers need to develop six fundamental skills sets, if they are to be effective in their roles. They are as follows: To set and achieve your goals...
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  • How to Manage Remote Teams
    During the Covid crisis, many employees have been working from home. Remote working brings many benefits for both employers and employees. With remote working set to continue to some extent, managers must adapt to leading a remote workforce.
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  • The Language of the leader (Rhetorical communication)
    The Language of the Leader (Rhetorical Communication) Communication skills can be split into two broad categories: Logic Rhetoric Logic is the art of trying to convince someone of the truth by means of appealing to: The facts The information The deductions drawn from the facts Reasoning Rhetoric is the art of...
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  • Avoiding Guesswork in Business
    Relying on 'hunches' or 'gut feelings' is common for managers, but it's just disguised guessing. This approach may seem quick, but it can lead to significant trouble. Choose wisely.
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  • Top Management Techniques to Learn
    Learn about the latest management techniques and why they're important in this article from Chris Farmer, management trainer at Corporate Coach Group.
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Looking for Leadership and Management Training?

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