Managers versus Leaders

Posted by Roxanne Chugg

There are differences between leadership and management functions. Leadership provides direction, encouragement and inspiration to motivate a team to achieve organisational success. Management is primarily an organisational role, coordinating people's efforts and the allocation of resources to maximise efficiency in achieving identified goals.


Hold responsibility – Manager’s are about targets, measures and achieving deadlines within agreed timeframes.

Plan, organise and control – Manager’s get things done BY people.  They use systems and measures to ensure everything is on track.

See tasks through to completion – The Manager will follow progress and know where expectations are at any given point.

Measure by efficiency – On time, to budget and the right quality.

More fixed – Managers are often more focused on the task and schedule.  Ticking the boxes and applying pressure to get the task done.

A Manager:

  • Administers
  • Counts value
  • Maintains
  • Focuses on system and structure
  • Relies on control
  • Has a short term view
  • Always has his/her eye on the bottom line
  • Administrates
  • Accepts the status quo
  • Does things right
  • Is the classic “good soldier”


Facilitate accountability – They are the go to people to ease relationships, get the best out of people and remove roadblocks to progress.

Develop, guide, coach and mentor - Leaders get things done THROUGH people – they use encouragement, support and relationships to get people to WANT to do their best.

Focus on objectives and people – The leader will keep more focus on the overall objectives and the performance and well being of the individual/team involved.

Measured by satisfaction of the group – The well led group or individuals will be happy with their efforts.  They may face dramas, difficulties and challenges but they will have come through them and learnt a lot about themselves and their peers.

More flexible – Keeps the pressure in check, ensures that the task is in the right direction to achieve the overall objectives.  Is the calm in the eye of the storm.

A Leader:

  • Innovates
  • Creates value
  • Develops
  • Focuses on people
  • Inspires trust
  • Always has his/her eye on the horizon
  • Develops ideas and principles
  • Challenges the status quo
  • Is his/her own person
  • Does the right things

The distinction between leadership and management is quite useful in gaining a better understanding of these different functions in an organisation. Leadership and management operate hand in hand. To be a good manager requires leadership skills, and an effective leader will be reliant on applying their own and others' management skills to achieve their vision.