Leaders versus Managers. To Lead or To Manage. That is the question.

  • Are they the same?
  • Do they complement each other?
  • Who is more valuable?
  • What makes them different?

Let’s jump right into it. Managers and leaders have different personalities, different ways of thinking, and that’s how I separate the two. Here’s how I break them down.



  • Are systematic
  • Wants stability
  • Risk adverse
  • Requires training
  • Are controlling
  • Problem solver
  • Let’s talk about it, then you go do it.
  • Creates a plan
  • Wants recognition
  • Are innovative
  • Wants change
  • Willing to take risks
  • Are born
  • Motivates
  • Makes improvements
  • Let’s do it, then we’ll talk about improving it
  • Sets a direction
  • Wants the organization to recognize why change is needed and the benefits that follows
As you can see they are polar opposites, they stick togetherlike magnetics and never move, therefore nothing gets done.Technology raises the bar on how we do business which is why organizations are in constant state of change to stay competitive. Internally, business processes, support, communication, etc. are constantly changing and front-facing domains such as customer services, sales, products and services are constantly changing. Therefore, leaders needto be positioned higher than managers in organizational structures because to change successfully, you need innovation.It takes leadership to motivate teams and carry out visions that lead products and services that add value, attract customers, while differentiating products and services from the competition.

In organizations I worked for I’ve been a team leader, and like most organizations there are too many managers and not enough leaders. Organizations structured in this way are usually slow to adapt and only change in crisis situations which is costly.

The struggle between managers and leaders can be traced back to the mindset of the manager. Managers feel threaten by leaders, because they feel that leaders want to push them out, take control and they’ll become less valuable.

[To Managers]

If you are manager and you are still reading this, there’s one takeaway from this post that I hope you get, and that is: Leaders are not and do not want your job. In fact, leaders want to make you more valuable by giving your business unit improvements and more efficiencies, which will make you look good among your peers. Leaders will also take the risk away from you and consume all responsibility, which keeps you safe. Remember, when/if (depending on your beliefs) aliens come down to invade. The first thing they’ll say is:

Next: Leadership……Traits do matter

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