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Many people have different perceptions of the characteristics that make a leader, as opposed to those of a manager – with qualities such as being inspiring, insightful, and intuitive rather than being directive, controlling, and authoritative. Not all managers have great leadership skills, and not all leaders are good at management.

There is debate, however, over whether leadership and management are actually the same, as these roles are not mutually exclusive. One can be both a manager and a leader. While they have some essential similarities, there are many differences that distinguish them. The general consensus is that management is more about one’s position, while leadership is associated with one’s character.

A leader creates a vision for people to follow, while managers ensure the day-to-day operations are running smoothly. When a manager is also a strong leader, they’re able to gain the trust and loyalty of their employees, creating a positive environment of productivity. As it’s possible to be both a leader and a manager, understanding the differences between the two roles is important. Regardless, leaders and managers play an invaluable role in the success of a business. The following are nine key differences between leaders and managers.

Leaders create a vision, managers create goals.

Leaders create a vision of what is possible and motivate their staff to make it a reality. They understand that teamwork yields greater results than individuals working independently. Managers, on the other hand, concentrate on setting, assessing, and accomplishing objectives and managing situations to reach predetermined goals.

Leaders create change, managers maintain existing conditions.

Leaders are agents of change – proud disrupters embracing innovation. They are eager to use their ability to find new ways to move forward, even when things are working. On the other hand, managers maintain the status quo, focusing on refining existing systems, structures, and processes to make them better.

Leaders are unique, managers copy.

Leaders are confident in their own identity, actively crafting and maintaining a unique personal brand. They are not afraid to be different and are open and honest with their actions. Managers, on the other hand, often adopt the leadership style of others, striving to replicate the behaviors they observe in their superiors.

Leaders take risks, managers control risk.

Leaders are open to taking risks, even when they may end in failure, understanding that it can be a necessary part of achieving success. Managers work to reduce risks and avoid issues rather than embracing them.

Leaders focus on the long-term, managers think short-term.

Leaders possess a strong sense of purpose and remain motivated towards achieving a long-term goal, even without the expectation of regular rewards. Managers will focus on more immediate objectives, often expecting recognition and praise for their efforts.

Leaders grow personally, managers lean towards existing skills.

Leaders recognize that if they aren’t learning something new each day, they won’t be able to keep up with the changes around them. They show curiosity and strive to stay up-to-date. They actively search for people and information that can help broaden their perspective. Managers, on the other hand, focus on honing their existing skills and replicating successful practices that have worked in the past.

Leaders develop relationships, managers create systems and processes.

Leaders focus on building relationships with all the stakeholders necessary to realize their vision, cultivating trust and loyalty by consistently delivering on their promises. Meanwhile, managers work to create systems and processes for setting and achieving goals, utilizing individuals to meet their goals and objectives.

Leaders coach, managers direct.

Leaders recognize that their employees have the answers or possess the skill to find them. They view the people that work for them as competent and have faith in their abilities. Rather than ordering their employees what to do and how to do it, they resist the urge to micromanage. Managers, on the other hand, assign tasks and give directions on how to complete them.

Leaders create fans, managers have employees.

Leaders have followers who become their biggest supporters, promoting their brand and helping them to reach their objectives. Their fans help them amplify their brand and reach their objectives. Managers have employees who obey orders and aim to make the boss happy.