The Difference Between Managers and Leaders: Part 1

It takes more than just a little to inspire people to get behind you. So what separates a good manager from a great leader? Here are 17 traits that distinguish the two. Many people have a little of both. How do you stack up?

Great leaders don’t need to act tough. Their confidence and humility serve to underscore their toughness. Simon Sinek


A Manager

Tells – This is what I want you to do, and here is how I want you to do it.

A Leader

Sells – I have this great idea, and i know it will work if I can get you to be a part of it.

A Manager

Plans the details – I’ll send out a memo to everyone and set a time for us to meet.

A Leader

Sets the direction – Let’s get everyone together. I’ve got some exciting news you’ll all want to hear.


A Manager

Minimized risks – Time is money. The sooner I get this done, the better.

A Leader 

Takes risks – This might stretch us, but the payoff will make it worthwhile.

A Manager

Instructs Employees – If you’re not sure of what your job entails, you can check the flowchart on my door.

A Leader

Encourages people – If you think you’ve got a better way, my door is always open.


A Manager

Has objectives – Let’s stick to the plans so these get done ASAP.

A Leader

Has vision – I like your thinking. Let’s see how we can work this into our operation.

A Manager

Meets Expectations – We met our goals for this quarter; mission accomplished.

A Leader

Chart new growth – Our goals are just a starting point we are limited only by how far we want to reach.


A Manager

Eyes the bottom line – We got everything done and came in under budget.

A Leader

Eyes the horizon – We got everything done, came in under budget, and laid the groundwork for the next phase.

A Manager

Accepts the status quo – If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

A Leader

Challenges the status quo – I know it isn’t broken, but is there a way to do it that’s even better?

These differences in a manager and a leader are very noticeable. I’ve been reading these and thinking about people that I have had in my past as a manager. They had a lot of the manager traits and not too many of the leader traits.

I also have been thinking about these traits and our new president.

Question: Where do you think our new president stacks up? Please leave your comments below.



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