It’s sometimes hard to know the difference between leadership and management. Most often, both terms are used interchangeably. But there are quite a few major differences between a leader and a manager. So, if there are differences between the two, what are they? Essentially, a leader is someone who can encourage and motivate teams to achieve. Whereas a manager organizes and systematically delegates tasks while also problem-solving.

That said, which one is better? Should you aim to be a great leader or a great manager?

In this article, I’m going to go over the key difference between leaders and managers and discuss which one is better for your business.


Key Differences Between Leaders and Managers

There are many differences between leadership and management.

Some of the key characteristics of leaders include:
  • Ability to motivate individuals.
  • Able to influence people.
  • Shows direction.
  • See the bigger picture.
  • Empathizes with people.
  • Questions and innovates processes.

These leadership characteristics focus more on treating people with respect and seeing the long-term impact of employee satisfaction on business success.

A leader’s ability to empathize with employees — treating them as humans and not robots — is one of the most important factors when it comes to motivating individuals. This is a big reason why leaders don’t usually have trouble with getting people to finish work on time and to a high standard — as workers are motivated and inspired to do a great job for their leader. 

So, how do managers differ from leaders?


Some of the key characteristics of managers include:
  • Delegates tasks.
  • Creates plans.
  • Has great organization skills.
  • Implements systems and rules. 
  • Problem-solving.
  • Works to a fixed rule book.

It’s easy to see managers as hostile when compared to leaders. But this isn’t usually the case. A manager is someone who can make plans and organize their team in order to reach a specific goal.

Managers are also required to have great problem-solving skills, as many issues can arise throughout the working day that need to be fixed as quickly and effectively as possible. 

One of the pitfalls of managers is that they’re too systematic and rigid with their approach. They expect employees to work exactly to the rules and not allow any room for innovation — even if the innovative idea will improve. This can be very demotivating for individuals as they can feel like their manager is treating them like a robot.


So Which Is Better — Leadership or Management?

The truth is that it depends on the people who are in charge. While it seems as if being a leader in the more obvious choice, leadership skills don’t come naturally to many people. That said, leadership skills can be learned. 

On the other hand, management skills can be learned quite easily, as the skills required to be a manager are based around a strict set of rules. But, management skills do not necessarily teach how to empathize and motivate people.

Overall, while it is very important to have the organization-focused mindset of a manager, it’s also very important for managers to adopt leadership skills — including the ability to show direction,
give constructive feedback that doesn’t make the employees feel attacked, consistently innovate and look to improve current systems and to value and motivate teams to achieve the best result possible.


Keeping Your Team Motivated 

Whether you see yourself as a leader or a manager, it’s very important to keep your team motivated — especially if they’re currently working remotely due to lockdown restrictions.

If you’re struggling to keep your team motivated while they’re working from home, we’ve put together a
quick guide on how your team can stay motivated while working remotely.

For more information on how you can improve your business or your marketing strategy, read through some of the latest posts on the Intentionally Inspirational blog.


Written by Lewis James