Do You Know the Differences Between Management and Leadership?

Do You Know the Differences Between Management and Leadership?

In every profitable organization there are leaders and managers. Leadership and management have very distinct and equally important roles.  Leaders are more long term focused on the overall mission and strategic direction of the organization.

Managers are more focused on the tactics and tasks that need to be completed in the day-to-day roles of each member of the team to accomplish the strategic objectives outlined by the leaders.

In this blog we will explore the misconceived notions about managers and leaders, outline the traits typically found in each and finally explore the different roles each play in an organization.


To help us better understand a management position vs. a leadership position, lets explore some of the preconceived notions around these two roles.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that the term manager and leader can be interchanged for one another because they are the same thing. In actuality this is false.

Another key misconception is leaders are more important and are somehow “better” than managers. When this idea gets planted in a manger’s mind they try to be more like a leader instead of improving their skill set to be the best manager possible.

Both managers and leaders have an important value in the world and need to develop their skills to perform their role rather than trying to change their role in the organization.

Common Traits of Managers and Leaders

In looking at leaders and managers traits there are three key elements:

  • First, a leader tries to synthesize information into the fundamentals and then derives the vision and direction for the entire set of problems.  A manager takes the problem and the vision and generates a plan to address the issues.
  • Second, the leader’s focus is on the long-term strategy and the manager is focused on the short-term tactics.
  • Finally, a leader is focused on climbing to the next level of success while a manager is focused on the efficient execution of the plan.

The traits, needed to be effective leader vs. an effective manager are outlined in the table below:

Leadership Traits  Management Traits
Strategic Tactical
Visionary/dreamer Practical, level-headed, realistic
Innovates Administers
Challenges status quo Accepts status quo
People are led Projects are managed

The Role of a Manager and a Leader

Although leaders and managers have very different traits and roles, they both have many commonalities: they both deal with people and visions, but the way they handle them is very different.  Leaders see people as the cause, the reason why an endeavor is taken upon. From a manager’s prospective, people are the means to get an assignment or project completed.  Leaders and managers both understand there is collective condition, AKA reality, which is unacceptable and needs to be changed.  A manager will motivate their staff to go down a gradual path to the vision. Whereas a leader will help those believe in the vision which will bring a solution to reality.

In the end both managers and leaders provide an invaluable asset to the success of any organization, no matter the industry. With out a leader a manager cannot do their job correctly and vies versa. To learn more about how to improve your management skills and leadership skills, contact Eiger Leadership today!

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