Managers have employees.      Leaders win followers.

Managers react to change.       Leaders create change.

Managers have good ideas.      Leaders implement them.

Managers communicate.           Leaders persuade.

Managers direct groups.            Leaders create teams.

Managers try to be heroes.        Leaders make heroes of everyone around them.

Managers take credit.                 Leaders take responsibility.

Managers are focused.               Leaders create shared focus.

Managers exercise power over people.  Leaders develop power with people.

What else sets a leader apart from a manager in your mind?  Please feel free to share your thoughts with me on Facebook and Twitter as well as in the comment box below.

Mark Sanborn
About Mark Sanborn

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change. Mark Sanborn graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University. In addition to his work as a business educator and author, Mark continues to be an active leadership practitioner. Most recently he served as the president of the National Speakers Association.

37 Responses to 9 Differences Between Managers and Leaders
  1. Personally, I prefer the definitions of leader and manager that Marcus Buckingham uses. His version treats them both as sets of talents that are necessary and valuable to an organization.

    They are complementary talents necessary to getting things done. Great leaders don’t always make great managers and vice versa.

    Either done to average or poor standards is a disaster.

  2. […] makes a leader different from a manager?Via Share this:TwitterFacebookTumblrLinkedInDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  3. Mark is a great leader and as such has many respectable followers. Through influence and touching our hearts he is looked upon as an inspiration and always has my helping hand when needed.

  4. Great distinction. Here’s my 2 cents: Managers rely on invention and leaders take the liberty to reinvent.

  5. managers are appointed officially to the position . Leaders are may or may not be appointed officially to the position

  6. […] I’d like to draw on what Mark Sanborn, another good expert on the subject, writes on hisblog about the differences between a leader and a manager (with my term here, boss), because it provides a perfect framework that I can work with as to the […]

  7. All managers are the leaders where as all leaders are not managers.

  8. […] feedback on their work, managers can successfully make the transition from nagging manager to an inspirational, creative innovator whose primary work is moving people towards their best selves in the […]

  9. Managers has his eyes on the bottom line; leader has his eye on the horizon.
    Managers is a copy, leader is the original
    Manager imitates, leader originates
    Manager maintains, leader develops
    Manager accept the statut quo, leader challenge the statu quo
    Manager ask how and when, leader ask what and why
    Manager has a short-range view, leader has a long-range perspective

  10. Manager focusses on climbing the ladder of success
    leader focusses whether the ladder is leaning on to the right wall

  11. Managers do their work well, while Leaders do good works.

  12. I disagree with the one says that all managers are leaders, it is true that some managers are leaders but not all of them. The fact is that no good leader can be a good manager

  13. Managers do things right. Leaders do right things

  14. Managers lead to targets, Leaders lead to the vision
    Managers play within the system, Leaders even go out of the system
    Managers less in self sacrifice, Leaders always prepared for self sacrifice.

  15. Leaders are born. Leaders are made by the circumstances about and around themselves. Leaders are crafted, chiseled and hammered by their experiences. Leaders are pushed to mould themselves to become certain figures on Earth. Leaders can be cosmopolitan species, extremely universally present. Leaders pull up and build other countless leaders as they rise. Leaders love the use of “We and Us”. A Leader says I am because we are, and because we are, therefore I am.

    Managers learn and copy and style themselves accordingly with their role models. Managers acquire junior and senior degrees in subjects of their appetite and affinity. Managers position themselves for the next position. Managers surround themselves with all YES MEN. Managers eliminate any potential challenging species. managers are constantly working at protecting themselves from vultures who are also positioning themselves. Managers step on top of many heads for them to rise and shine alone. Managers love the use of the “Me, Myself and I”. A Manager says I am because I am, and because I am, therefore I am.

    My kindest Regards,
    Hollo Mampane, Limpopo
    South Africa

  16. Biggest difference between a manager and a leader is:

    Leader Manager
    Leader is change agent Manager is concerned with status co.

  17. manager plan ……leader execute

    manager control……leader follow_up

    manager set……….leader operate

  18. People don’t get to choose their managers–but they always choose their leaders.

  19. It is wrong to focus on classifying leaders and managers as two distinct entities. Both terms indicate positions of elevated responsibility and respect over others. People in these positions possess varying degrees of management and leadership abilities, the relative mix of which defines their ability to succeed in their position. In some positions, management skills, such as the ability to plan, coordinate, track details, etc, have greater importance in achieving success than leadership qualities of motivating and influencing others. The mix required in any individual leader/manager is dependent on the the position, the environment, and the team. Focusing on any one individual can be a mistake, since the strengths held by one person can augment another persons weaknesses. A strong manager/leader understands this, and is sure to shape their team to complement and augment teir own natural abilities. This self awareness can also allow a person to develop their abilities, improving weak areas to create a stronger mix of abilities overall. In the end, whether you are considered a manager or a leader, the term is just semantics, and you shouuld focul on achieving a balance in your managerial and leadership abilities.

  20. a leadership is crafted by meticulous listening skill while applying knowledge to given methodologies.

  21. New definition of leader/leadership- It is elevating of peoples life’s above want and making them follow a just cause to their natural death. managers do not elevate peoples life but oppress them to maximize profit but leaders do.

  22. Leaders set vision, managers implement the vision

  23. To use a military analogy: Leaders inspire their troops to affix bayonets and charge up a hill into an enemy of unknown strength while managers equip the troops and choose the hills to be charged. It takes both to win a war.

  24. Behaviour of manager is a outcome of its position, power, and his own personality and on the other side leadership is perceived on the basis of his background,knowledge and experience.

  25. […] You’ll find a similar list of differences on Mark Sanborn’s website. […]

  26. Leaders work to make Managers’ dreams come true. Managers can be described as Positivists and Leaders Pragmatists. Managers provide the platform for the Leaders to perform.. Managers briing a set of ingredients while Leaders create the best recipe that can possibly be derived from these ingredients.

  27. Leadership is about winning peoples heart, managment is authority

  28. I think leaders have a purpose or vision, while managers execute vision

  29. I think that Managers have people who work for then while Leaders have people follow them.. I am a student at Immaculata and thanx for reading… Toodles and Chao

  30. I believe both are strongly needed for growth and development, a leader needs a manager to manage both people and things, while a manager needs a leader to develop the followers/employees.
    both should be employed in running the affairs of life..

  31. Good article, but you seem like we don’t need managers in this world. To be a manager is not negative Management is a necessary skill to build or grow any enterprise or nation. Leadership and management skills however make a good combination.

  32. Great article. However it is a bit one sided! We need both leaders and managers in the world in order to function.


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