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Leaders vs Managers: Which One Are You?

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When it comes to running a business or managing a team, the terms “leader” and “manager” are often used interchangeably. However, there are distinct differences between the two. Understanding these differences can help you identify which role you play and improve your effectiveness in leading or managing others.

Leadership and Management Defined

Leadership is the ability to inspire, motivate, and guide a team towards a shared goal. Leaders often have a vision for the future and are willing to take risks to achieve it. They prioritize people over tasks and focus on building relationships and trust with their team members.

Management, on the other hand, is the ability to plan, organize, and control resources to achieve specific objectives. Managers focus on achieving goals efficiently and effectively, often through processes and procedures. They prioritize tasks over people and may be more focused on maintaining the status quo than taking risks.

Leaders vs Managers: The Pros and Cons

Leadership Pros

  • Inspires and motivates team members
  • Fosters creativity and innovation
  • Builds strong relationships and trust
  • Takes calculated risks to achieve goals

Leadership Cons

  • May lack structure and organization
  • May struggle with decision-making
  • May prioritize people over tasks to the detriment of the team’s success

Management Pros

  • Efficiently achieves goals through processes and procedures
  • Maintains the status quo and stability
  • Fosters accountability and responsibility
  • Provides structure and organization

Management Cons

  • May struggle with creativity and innovation
  • May prioritize tasks over people to the detriment of team morale
  • May be resistant to change or taking risks

Which One Are You?

It’s important to note that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Both leadership and management skills are necessary for a successful business or team. However, understanding your strengths and weaknesses in each area can help you identify areas for improvement and develop a more well-rounded approach to leading or managing.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine which role you play:

  • Do you focus more on building relationships and trust with your team members or achieving specific goals efficiently?
  • Do you prioritize people over tasks or tasks over people?
  • Do you take risks to achieve your goals or maintain the status quo?
  • Do you value creativity and innovation or prefer structure and organization?


Whether you identify as a leader or a manager, understanding the differences between the two roles can help you become more effective in your position. By playing to your strengths and addressing your weaknesses, you can create a more well-rounded approach to leading or managing and achieve greater success for yourself and your team.

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