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[ANSWERED] What are the differences between leaders and managers? What characteristics are similar and what are different?

  • What are the differences between leaders and managers? What characteristics are similar and what are different?
  • Provide a total of three examples. First, of someone who has great managerial skills. Second, another individual with great leadership skills. Third, another person with poor managerial skills. These can be made up individuals or examples you have seen without any identifying information. Discuss how the staff of each individual would be affected by the skills of the leader/manager.

Expert Answer and Explanation

Leadership and Managing

The success of any organization or company is based on the ability of the leaders to meet different operational needs. The daily operations and strategic governance of any company are done through the top management, which comprises leaders and managers. The roles and responsibilities of leaders and managers can be focused on the same mission, but the functionality differs in operations (Grady, & Hinings, 2018). The debate between leaders and managers is a critical aspect, and while some might use the words interchangeably, there are various operational differences between a leader and a manager. This paper will focus on iterating the differences between a leader and a manager and also depict different practical examples of a good and poor leader or manager.

Leader Vs. Manager

The difference between a leader and a manager can be viewed from different perspectives. Within any organization, different operational needs exist, including production, service delivery, and the customer. The basic foundation of a leader is to be an important link between the different stakeholders and the firm. Leaders are oriented toward creating an efficient environment for operations (Grady, & Hinings, 2018). The differences can be perceived based on their work, authority, approach used, and qualities.

To begin with, the differences between a leader and a manager can be viewed from the meaning of the terms. To be a leader means that an individual has the capacity to influence, guide, or direct the physical behaviors of their followers in a specified or predetermined direction, mainly towards the attainment of a specific goal (Anbu, 2019). As a leader, it is important to be able to demonstrate proper strategies that can influence others to perform better or improve in their current position. On the other hand, to be a manager means that a person acts on behalf of a company or firm in a representative capacity (Anbu, 2019). In retrospect, a manager has some form of power and represents the firm responsible for the overall management or operations of the employees (Anbu, 2019). As a manager, one is focused on acting in the company’s best interest at all times, including coordination and taking requisite actions if the need arises.

The correlation between a manager and a leader can also be perceived based on their functions or type of work and authority. For instance, a leader is not necessarily a person in a position of power, and their authority is informal in nature. In this regard, the leadership aspect of a person is based on their individual attributes and personal qualities as they relate with others (Anbu, 2019). To be a leader means to be self-aware and make decisions that help the growth of the team and followers. In this regard, a leader’s work is aimed at providing directions to the followers of employees. A leader helps create attainable and realistic visions and communicates the issues with the employees (Matira & Awolusi, 2020). Leaders also facilitate efficient employee performance through motivation and encouraging the followers to meet their different visions. Manager is different s they have formal authority as they are ranked on a higher positional role within the company (Matira & Awolusi, 2020). To be a manager, one needs to demonstrate authority and power while ensuring that internal processes run effectively and that the company’s needs are met. In this regard, the work of a manager focuses on formulating an efficient organizational structure and delegating authority or responsibilities among employees. Managers are also critical to the company having the required resources to improve its operational needs.

Be that as it may, the difference between leaders and managers can also be attributed to the management functions of each of the two. While the management function of a leader is only to direct employees and followers, managers perform all the five functions associated with management. Managers help with planning, staffing, organizing, controlling, and directing (Matira & Awolusi, 2020). These five management functions are important as they help create a basic and fundamental structure of the organization. The role of the management structure within an organization helps facilitate the operations of the company and that all the policies, procedures, and resources are available for an efficient operation.

As a leader, one needs to act proactively and operate both in the formal and informal structures of the organization (Joullié et al., 2021). On the other hand, managers are reactive and only operate within the organization’s formal structure. A leader is required to demonstrate leadership qualities while interacting with others. Leadership qualities are key since they help create a conducive informal environment and proactive approaches. A manager needs to possess managerial qualities but can augment with leadership traits to help improve their performance and general outlook (DiGirolamo & Tkach, 2019). In this regard, managers ensure that the company’s internal and external processes are maintained and that the employees are aware of and adhere to the set rules and regulations. Managers also strive to attain efficiency within the organization through effective staffing and resource acquisition. Efficiency helps with controlling and planning activities.

It is important to understand the difference between a leader and a manager as it helps create an effective understanding of how a company operates and why some decisions have to be made (DiGirolamo & Tkach, 2019). The different leadership and management techniques are critical and can help with decision-making and guidance within an organization. As an employee, one would also be aware of who to approach in case of different issues within the facility (Gächter & Renner, 2018). A manager can be approached on the operational aspects, while a leader can be approached in case of any informal or transformation attributes.

Examples of Managerial and Leadership Skills

Great Managerial Skills

An example of a manager with great managerial skill was a head of a renowned company that surprised many with the actions he took in the wake of COVID-19. At the beginning of the pandemic, the manager called for a managerial meeting with all the stakeholders to plan what would happen in the event that the disease poses a risk to the operations of the facility. The manager sought to adopt a new structure that would enable the employees to work remotely. The manager authorized the purchase and installation of company servers that would allow the employees to connect to the internal intranet and continue working regardless of their physical location. Since the nature of the disease was known, and social distances would be inevitable, the decision to plan ahead and anticipate the worst-case scenario helped the company overcome the challenges that were brought about by the disease. The technique helped the employees adapt to the new circumstances without affecting the business continuity (Gächter & Renner, 2018).

Great Leadership Skills

Mr. John or company X was a team leader assigned to obverse the implementation of a new evidence-based system. During the transition, there was a conflict between two employees who had reached an impasse and would not follow what each other was saying. To address the issue, John sought to first listen to each of the employees and make a decision based on their different perspectives. It turned out that neither the employees were wrong, and there was an issue with understanding each other. The employees were referencing different guidelines and misunderstood each other in terms of execution. To resolve the issue, the correct guideline was used, and they both agreed to use the correct guideline. The staff would learn how to best address conflict and the importance of effective communication.

Poor Managerial Skills

Mr. M is the procurement officer of company Z, which deals with the packaging and distribution of perishable goods. The company makes use of raw materials sourced from different countries. Following the onset of COVID -19, there was n issue with international logistics, and the production of products and consumption would be affected. The procurement manager failed to plan ahead and went on with normal production and acquisition. After a while, the company experienced an acute shortage of products, and the current inventory was overwhelmed due to challenges with logistics from the warehouse to the destinations and vice versa. The employees were forced to adapt to impromptu and unplanned intervention, including working overtime and being part of crisis meetings that would have been overcome.


This paper focused on iterating the differences between a leader and a manager and also depicted different practical examples of a good and poor leader or manager. Understanding the difference between leaders and managers is key to growth. Leaders and managers can also benefit by knowing the extent of their roles and responsibilities.


Anbu, D. (2019). The role of leaders and managers in Business organisations. Asian Journal of Management10(3), 225-228.

DiGirolamo, J. A., & Tkach, J. T. (2019). An exploration of managers and leaders using coaching skills. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research71(3), 195.

Gächter, S., & Renner, E. (2018). Leaders as role models and ‘belief managers’ in social dilemmas. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization154, 321-334.

Grady, C. M., & Hinings, C. B. (2018). Turning the Titanic: physicians as both leaders and managers in healthcare reform. Leadership in Health Services.

Joullié, J. E., Gould, A. M., Spillane, R., & Luc, S. (2021). The language of power and authority in leadership. The Leadership Quarterly32(4), 101491.

Matira, K. M., & Awolusi, O. D. (2020). Leaders and Managers Styles towards Employee Centricity: A Study of Hospitality Industry in United Arab Emirates. Information Management and Business Review12(1 (I)), 1-21.

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