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Manager vs Leader. Who are You?
Oksana Oboishchyk

Did you know that actually there are lots of differences between a manager and a leader? These differences are quite crucial and predefine the group of people you belong to. If you are not sure what type of a person you are or want to be, this article might help you.

At the first sight, it may seem that all managers should be leaders or that all leaders should always be in top management positions or somewhat similar. However, this is not always true. Sometimes, the head of an organization, CEO or even a president is not a leader. Does this sound confusing? Let’s go ahead and dive into this stuff deeper.

A manager is someone who plans, delegates and controls the usage and coordination of team resources and project activities in order to achieve certain goals in conjunction with five functions of management: planning, organizing, staffing, leading and controlling.  Managers always push people to set and achieve goals.

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A leader is someone with his own vision and interpersonal skills. Leaders always guide, influence and coach people. They follow the direction of a team in order to set and achieve goals. Leadership is more like influencing, inspiring and motivating employees to set and achieve goals and to be a part of a certain process.

We may say that managers are mostly focused on things, they push and direct. Whereas leaders focus on people and their development, they pull and influence. So when answering the main question of this article I can say that every person can be either a leader or a manager as well as both at the same time, but that takes a totally different set of skills.

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In my humble opinion, today’s world is full of managers, while leaders are truly hard to find as it takes a person to possess a whole set of interpersonal skills like the ability to motivate, to influence, to inspire, and pull people forward. Not all managers can be leaders as well as not all leaders can be managers. Some leaders may strongly dislike administrative work and see it as super boring and routine. So, where do we find leaders?

Leaders can be found at any part of the organization. Not all of them are working at top positions, as managers can brilliantly lead companies without being leaders. Other organizations are governed by leaders who have a great team of managers doing all the administrative work and carrying out the management functions.

Here is a comparative list showcasing major similarities and differences between leaders and managers:

A manager:

  • is a part of the formal process;
  • is involved in a process;
  • pushes people who need to be a part of the organization;
  • solves problems and drives change;
  • pushes people. 

 

A leader: 

  • is not a part of the formal organization;
  • leads by influence with or without power;
  • has a group of people who want to follow him;
  • leads change and influences people;
  • motivates and creates momentum. 

 

Major commonalities between leaders and managers are as follows: 

  • both have a vision;
  • are responsible for setting and achieving goals;
  • are responsible for achieving results;
  • are responsible for continuous improvement of the process they are involved in;
  • have followers they need to listen to. 

 

To sum it up, I can say that organizations need both leaders and managers to perform successfully and assure continuous process of development and innovation. Combining both managerial and leading skills can be quite challenging but it is never too late to try to learn something new and become a better person with new valuable skills and abilities. 


Also published on Medium.

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