What is the difference?  

rm_rome211 62M
7 posts
10/25/2005 8:27 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

What is the difference?

One of the most common questions I get asked is, “What’s the difference between a leader and a manager.” Great question especially coming from non-business persons. I was helping a group of non-profit organizations on the east coast one weekend and we came to a Q&A section of our meeting. I got the same question from three different people. The first came from a young guy who was new to his position and eager to make some changes. Another was a career woman who looked haggard. (To me she looked sexually frustrated but...I'm just a pagan) The last person was a pleasant, well mannered, older gentleman. I asked the entire group if any one wanted to answer and no one did. I knew I was in trouble...smile.

Well, let me state that most places of work don't differentiate between them and this makes things very confusing in any work area. As a consultant I get to see lots of frustrated people and lots of companies losing more than their share of talented people. So I know it is a much needed clarification.

I'll try to not use technical language or jargon. I guess the simplest description is one of function: a leader leads and a manager manages.

or one could say it this way:

a manager does things right
a leader does the right things.

Another way of looking at it is (unfortunately both managers and leaders treat people like idiots):

a manager manages things
a leader leads people.

Sometimes these two definitions get confused or worse get blurred together but there is an enormous difference. Some of you have asked me that same question. With this limited space, I hope it is helpful.

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