Not all managers are leaders, and not all leaders are managers. While management and leadership do go hand and hand, they are not the same thing.



A manager’s core job duties including planning, organizing, leading and controlling. However, not all managers adequately perform leadership roles and responsibilities, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Management is primarily responsible for producing results. This involves setting goals, creating a structure to accomplish goals and monitoring results.



On the other hand, leader’s can communicate, inspire, motivate, encourage, and efficiently guide. Leaders produce change and provide vision to help organizations grow. It is important to remember that anyone can be a leader. While managers are put in a more authoritative position, a leader does not have to be. Leadership skills can evolve and be acquired over time.



Both leaders and managers are essential to successful organizations. While management and leadership are related, there are differences between the two.

Goals vs. Vision: Both setting goals and creating a vision are important. Leaders tend to create something bigger and work towards accomplishing more. Leaders focus on team efforts while managers focus more on individual goals.

Risk: Another difference between managers and leaders is risk. Managers work to minimize risk because they want to avoid and control problems. On the other hand, leaders embrace issues and are willing to try new things. Leaders see failure and risk as a possible pathway to success.

Short vs. Long-Term: Leaders do what they say they are going to do and stay motivated toward a big, often very distant goal. However, managers work on shorter-term goals. Managers seek regular rewards while leaders do not expect any.

Responsibility: Leaders will take responsibility while managers delegate it. Managers control and want to get tasks completed. This requires them to assign work and duties to their employees. Even though managers have their own responsibilities, leaders take on extra responsibility.

Direct vs. Coach: As previously mentioned, managers are responsible for assigning responsibility. This requires them to direct employees, provide necessary resources and anticipate change. Leaders, however, avoid telling others what to do and how to do it. They instead coach and empower others to inspire and motivate.


“Manager” and “leader” are not interchangeable words. Management and leadership roles do vary, and both are important for organizations. Embracing both stability and change can help businesses thrive. Both positions are different, but it is important to appreciate the differences.
Ryan Krutzig is a seasoned sales and operations professional based in Minnesota. Read more of his leadership advice or check out his Twitter!