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.

19 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 http://www.marksanborn.com 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.


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