You might be thinking that a leader and manager are synonymous. However, this is not the case. There is actually a distinct difference between being a leader and being a manager, from mentality all the way to execution.


That being said, there seem to be two types of comparisons commonly made between leadership and management. One is that management is a title and leadership is a state of being, more or less. Managers only care about their own success, while leaders care about the success of the group as a whole. In this scenario, leadership is not something you need a title for. In the other camp, the leader is the visionary who knows where they want the group to go and the manager is the one who relays the leader’s ideas and general aim to the team. Here, the manager executes the mission that is based on the leader’s vision. The manager and the leader, in this scenario, are in a symbiotic relationship and need each other to achieve overall success.


Let’s take a look at a few leadership vs. management quotes:

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” - Stephen Covey.

In Scenario One, Leaders Don’t Need Titles, this quote could mean that while managers are good at working within the system they are given and moving up from there to be successful, leaders often play a different role in organizations. Managers use what leaders have built to their own advantage. However, in Scenario Two, The Symbiotic Relationship, it can be read in an entirely different way. The leader puts the ladder up against the wall they want the followers to climb, but the manager is the one who does the climbing, building on the foundation that the leader has laid out.


“The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.” - Warren G. Bennis

Scenario One paints the manager as rigid and narrow in thinking, while making the leader out to be the one asking the important questions. However, in Scenario Two, the manager is the one asking the practical questions: how can we make this vision a reality? what mission do we need to set in order to meet our goals? In Scenario Two, the leader is creating the vision: why are we doing this? what is the big picture? When the Scenario Two manager and leader work together, they can get things done effectively with every area being targeted.


“The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.” - Warren G. Bennis

The Scenario One manager is shown to be wearing blinders, unable to see past what is right in front of them, but the leader has the big ideas about doing great things to achieve their goals and better the group. In the Scenario Two version, the leader has the long-term goals, and the manager focuses on the short-term things that can be done to work toward that end goal of the leader.

Managers and leaders are obviously different, no matter how you look at it. But is one better than the other? In the case of poorly structured organizations, it can seem like the leaders, the people paving the way without recognition, are the ones keeping everything afloat for the group while the managers are protecting their own interests. So wouldn’t it be better if managers were also leaders? In Scenario One this would be ideal, but looking at Scenario Two we can see a different way of looking at things where managers and leaders are equals with different strengths and weaknesses who need each other to succeed.


The discussion on leadership and management could go on for ages, but now that we have given our views we would love to hear yours! Go to our Facebook page and comment on our video to let us know what you think.