23 Mar 2022


Differences between Leaders and Managers

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Academic level: College

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Management and leadership are two terms that are used interchangeably. Nevertheless, they describe diverse concepts. Management focuses on achieving organizational objectives by utilizing, deploying, controlling, and obtaining all the relevant resources such as information, personnel, finances, and equipment needed by an organization. While leadership deals with the most vital resource among them people; moreover, leadership deals with developing a vision, communication, and motivating the workers. From these definitions, it is clear that there are clear differences between managers and leaders. Therefore, this essay will focus on highlighting these differences between leaders and managers regarding how they solve problems, how they relate with their followers, how they view their work, and differences in their emotional intelligence. 

Managers and leaders prepare and handle problems in different ways. For the managers, they prepare themselves for the hard times. Thus, during these times, the managers are supposed to ensure that the organization retains its strength, endure failure, and adjust quickly within the shortest period (Zaleznik, 1992). On the other hand, leaders have the capability of instilling loyalty to the staff. A manager cannot do this because of the use of the inflexible methods and lack of naturalness.

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Another primary difference between the managers and the leaders lies in their roles and the relationship with their followers. The role of a leader is to innovate or create whereas the role of a manager is to administer (Nayar, 2013). This means that a leader is an individual who generates new and innovative ideas to keep an organization moving in a new, beneficial and profitable direction. Therefore, a leader must always have updates on the latest studies, skills, and trends). On the contrary, a manager maintains an organization that is already established. Thus, his primary duty is to manage and control an organization to ensure sound functioning. Further, he or she has to make sure that every individual contributes towards the realization of the goals and objectives of the firm. 

The other difference lies in their emotional intelligence. A leader is a visionary person who inspires people to achieve (Nayar, 2013). To achieve this, a leader is supposed to share their ideas with their subordinates to either create a strategy or solve a particular problem. Leaders act as role models, encourage corporation, and motivate the workers. Most of the times, they follow their instinct, and this benefits an organization. In many cases, leaders gain followers who show their loyalty to them and the organization. On the other hand, managers follow instructions and organizational policy. Thus, the workers may or may not be loyal. 

The last difference occurs in the way the two view their work. Managers see their work as a process that involves ideas and individuals interacting to make decisions and establish strategies. The managers are flexible when making decisions. They accomplish this by taking into consideration the interests of the opposition. Their tactics are usually flexible (Zaleznik, 1992). They bargain and negotiate, use punishments, rewards and some other forms of coercion. Leaders work differently from managers. Managers often act to limit choices. Contrastively, leaders often develop new approaches to problems and expose matters to new options. For leaders to achieve efficiency, they must direct their thoughts into images that stimulate the public.

In summary, numerous differences exist between the managers and the leaders. Leaders are flexible when it comes to problem-solving while the managers are not. Secondly, the role of a leader is not focused on innovation while that of a manager is to administer. Thirdly, managers involve their subordinates when making decisions while the managers adopt new approaches when solving problems. Lastly, a leader motivates individuals to achieve whereas the manager acts according to instructions and policies of an organization. 


Nayar, V. (2013). Three Differences between Managers and Leaders : Harvard Business Review . Retrieved 1 September 2016, from https://hbr.org/2013/08/tests-of-a-leadership-transiti

Zaleznik, A. (1992). Managers And Leaders: Are They Different?  Houston Police Department Leadership Journal, 47-63.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Differences between Leaders and Managers.


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