Leaders v Managers

  • Post category:Business

Are the traits for a Leader and a Manager the same? Can you be both?

Leaders v Managers; is it possible to be both? Yes, but you’re probably more one than the other. 

The difference is that managers have people that work for them, but leaders have people that follow them.  A good team needs both, but can one person fulfil both roles?

Let’s think about Leaders. Strong leaders make their team believe in the vision and their team want to work hard to achieve it. But what makes a good leader? 


  • Honesty
    • If you’re honest with your team, they’re more likely to support you and respect you. Allow teamwork. Let your team know where the journey is going, and where you are in it. And let them help you map out the road. 
  • Communication
    • Allow your team to help you when you encounter problems. Let them know the bigger picture! Don’t stop at the problems, share your achievements too and theirs! 
  • Riskiness
    • Strong leaders challenge the norm and take risks. They have ideas outside the box and push for those ideas to be reality. 

In contrast, let’s look at Managers. A Manager deals with day to day. Ensuring that everything happens on time and in an order. They also look at the big picture more so than a Leader. So, what makes a good Manager?


  • Reliability
    • As a Manager, you need to make sure nothing gets forgotten or falls through the cracks. You a relied upon to get the job done, by your bosses and the Customer.
  • Organisation 
    • Managers know what should be done and when and ensure that there is a way to make it happen. They focus on setting, measuring and achieving goals. 
  • Feistiness
    • As stated above, a Manager is there to get the job done, whatever it takes.  As a Manager you may be less empathetic to a personal situation preventing an employee doing the job and just get somebody else to do it.  A Leader would more likely find a way to help the employee. 

Is it as simple as: Leader Lead, and Managers Manage.  

Back to the question in hand….Can you be both a Leader and a Manager? Personally, I think there are people who have qualities in both but when it comes to the crunch, I have found that people tend to favour one or the other.  If you have found somebody that is both, then you’ve hit the Jackpot I’d say! 

A Leader is more People focussed and a Manager is more work focussed. Trying to juggle both can not only be difficult, but exhausting.   If you’re involved in a large project, can you afford to focus on both? Are you actually spreading your time to thin and not really focussing on either because there are only so many hours in a day?

Although I try to have people’s best interests at heart, I would definitely say I am more of a Manager than a Leader. Although I will try and help where I can, my focus is generally on the goal in hand and delivering a project.  I am not a cold faced…erm…lady but ultimately, I think the customer is generally my focus, without customers nobody would be getting paid (and that’s the best bit!)

So, what are you? A Leader or a Manager….or are you one in a million and both?