Monday, August 1, 2016

Are you a manager, a leader, or both?

What is leadership within professional environments - and how does it differ from management? There have been whole books written on the nuances, but in a nutshell: a manager plans, organises and coordinates a group a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal, whereas a leader influences, inspires, motivates, and enables others to contribute to achieving organisational aims and success (Murray, n.d.). This definition does not preclude a manager being a leader, or a leader also being a manager. Rather they are overlapping, complementary roles.

If you are going to work on leadership or management skills, it is worth unpacking this a bit more, and identifying some of the key differences.

A manager...

A leader...

administers and plans detail
innovates and sets direction
directs groups
builds teams and talent
maintains and communicates
persuades and develops
focuses on systems and structures
focuses on people
controls and directs
Inspires, influences and facilitates
short-term view
long-term perspective
asks how and when
asks why
has objectives and are focussed
has vision and creates shared focus
accepts the status quo
challenges the status quo
react to change
create change
have people who work for them
have people who work with them

René Carayol (2011), suggests that we “manage a little less and lead a little more”, because the positive culture (‘the way we get things done around here’) within an organisation is much more powerful than strategy. Also, while organisations can have similar strategies, the thing that makes an organisation unique is its culture.

So, while management and leadership go hand-in-hand, supporting the growth of leaders within an organisation can help ensure that an organisation’s heritage is not its destiny - that opinions and processes change because the culture is supportive of that change.


Carayol, R. (2011). Authentic leadership [Video file]. Retrieved from <Murray, A. (n.d.). What is the Difference Between Management and Leadership? Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from


Juggling balls. CC ( BY ) licensed Flickr image by William Warby: