Leader vs. Manager: What is the difference between Leader and Manager?

Leader vs. Manager: Let’s discuss their key differences, similarities, pros & cons, define which is better, and finally, answer some frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Leader vs. Manager: Top 6 Differences, Pros & Cons

The terms ‘Leader’ and ‘Manager’ are always thought to be synonymous with each other. This notion is incorrect as they have different meanings. Where a Leader acts towards a vision, managers’ actions are always goal-driven. Leading vs. managing is brought out by the element of ‘Innovation’, which is imperative in Leaders and absent in Managers. 

Read also:

Understanding leader vs. manager definitions for clarity

Who is a Leader?

A leader is a person with a vision who guides his followers with his actions.

Who is a Manager?

A manager is a person having the skills to control and guide a group to achieve a definite goal.

👉  Gross primary productivity vs. Net primary productivity: What is the difference between gross primary productivity and net primary productivity?

Looking at the similarities between a leader and a manager

Here are some leading vs. managing similarities that must be noticed:

  • Both leaders and managers exist at different levels of an organization.
  • They have a group of people to guide and encourage.
  • They constantly develop their skills and remain flexible to suit the needs of the group they are guiding.

Can one become a leader without being a manager?

Yes, a leader has nothing to do with being a manager. To be a manager, holding that designation is a must. But to be a leader, one can or cannot be a manager. A leader can lead even out of the managerial position simply by influence and inspiration. 

Can someone do both leading and managing?

Where leaders are born with some innate art to make others follow them, managers graduate every year from universities across the globe after learning management science. That said, if one happens to be born with a natural talent of both leading and managing people well, he would be termed as the best in the business world. 

What is a team without a leader called?

A team is only called so when it works in unison towards achieving certain goals. And a leader is a must to drive them all to achieve set goals with efficiency. A team without a team leader isn’t considered a team in the first place, as the followers will be clueless about what to do. 

👉  Single vs. Duplicate Checks: What’s The Difference Between Single And Duplicate Checks?

Can a leader be a good manager?

Yes, a leader can be a good manager if, apart from using his influence, he uses some managerial skills too. Such skills must be directed towards harmonizing the efforts of the organization and personnel strategically to achieve certain goals. 

What’s the Difference between team lead vs. manager?

A team lead is concerned about the interests of the team he is managing, whereas a manager is more concerned about the interests of the organization he is working for. 

What makes a manager a good leader?

Managers are always thought to be good at copying others. But if a manager can set the trend and make other people follow it too by motivating them, he is a good leader. 

What qualifies you to be a leader?

A leader leads from the front and is known to set examples. He is known to get the work done without giving any orders. So, when people simply follow someone even without being told to do so, he is a ‘Leader’ already. 

👉  Incall vs. Outcall: What Is The Difference Between Incall And Outcall?

Are leaders born or made?

Leaders are thought to be born and not made. The intrinsic qualities like physiological attributes and intelligence quotient are more inherent than acquired. That said, many contemporary thought schools are rendering this theory old and redundant. This is because they feel that leadership can be acquired through learning.

Who can be a great leader?

A person is thought to be a great leader who is extremely empowering and overly positive. These qualities are cited as imperative to constantly drive followers to perform their best.

Do we need leaders?

It is said that most humans are followers in their lives and need to be explained rules, driven in the right direction, and provided a fixed structure and boundaries to perform within. This lends them a sense of security. And all this is possible only if we have leaders to follow. 

What is a natural leader? 

A natural leader is the one that doesn’t acquire leadership qualities by learning. Rather all such qualities are inherent in them. They are the ones whose real-life experiences are taught as case studies in business schools to make future leaders. A few natural leaders are Bill Gates, Martin Luther King Jr., Walt Disney, Theodore Roosevelt, and Arianna Huffington. 

Top 6 differences between a leader and a manager

The difference between leading and managing is brought out in this table:

FollowersA leader has followers to show the right path.A manager doesn’t have followers but team members to handle.
VisionaryLeaders are visionaries who set goals for others.Managers are not visionaries but help people achieve the goals set by a leader.
Setting examples A leader sets an example for his followers with his action-oriented behavior.A manager doesn’t set an example but guides to his team members.
Title or rankA leader might or might not have a title.A manager holds a title and is responsible for the results achieved by his group. 
Born or madeLeaders are generally born and have natural abilities to influence people with their actions. It is difficult to impart leadership qualities.A manager can both be born or made. It is easy to impart managerial qualities.
Decision makingA leader steps into the shoes of his followers while making decisions. He allows his followers to participate.A manager is goal-oriented and wants to achieve the team goals quickly. Generally, a manager only provides directions to his group and hardly allows them to participate. 

Is a leader better than a manager?

Yes, a leader is better than a manager in many ways but cannot be called a replacement of the same. An organization requires both a good leader and a good manager to be successful in its ventures. A leader will set goals for the company, and the manager will help to achieve them.

Comparison Chart

Leader vs. Manager: Let’s discuss their key differences, similarities, pros & cons, define which is better, and finally, answer some frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Comparison Video

Top 10 Differences Between Managers and Leaders
Alex Stantor
Alex Stantor

Alex Stantor is a Sorbonne University (Paris, France) graduate in Philosophy and Data Analysis. Currently, he is an Author and Researcher at Difference 101, he writes articles/blog posts on topics such as "thinking differently" and "the importance of difference". Alex is a passionate advocate of diversity in the workplace and in companies, and diversity and inclusion in corporate communications. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

      Difference 101