Here at CFS, we believe that leaders and managers are two separate entities. While a leader can happen to be a manager, being a manager does not make a person a leader.
This idea is something I examine in my upcoming eBook, Leadership for Organizational Growth, which comes out next month. I shared another chapter of it a few weeks ago on employee stress and burnout. For this resource, I've decided to share another short chapter from the eBook, called “Leader Vs. Manager.” I hope you find value from this blog post and from my eBook. Happy selling!
Leader Vs. Manager
The terms “manager” and “leader,” are frequently used interchangeably. Though these terms, in fact, have very different meanings and connotations. I use the term “supervisory leader” when a person serves in both capacities at the same time.
To be a leader, you don’t have to hold an official position. On the other hand, a manager can only manage if that responsibility is assigned to him or her. For example, they typically have an accompanying title, such as vice president of sales or project manager.
Ordinarily, a manager is in charge, organizing, planning, directing, hiring, and firing. By and large, leadership is about influence. And while some people may report directly to the leader, in my 20 years of sales experience, I've observed that they frequently do not. For example, a leader can be the team’s top performer; the sales team’s best salesperson or an experienced, patient member of the customer service team who mentors new hires.
We’ve all been in situations where we aren’t paying attention when the manager gets up to speak, but then we completely tune in when the leader begins to give an impassioned presentation. And that leader had no title at all!
In short, you don't need a title to be a leader.
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This is a concise breakdown of my perspective on “Manager” vs. “Leader:”
- Is given a title and a role by someone in authority
- Has control in an organization
- Has subordinates
- Is responsible for their own behavior and performance, as well as the behavior and performance of their subordinates
- Is primarily concerned with organizational goals
- Has authority over resource allocation and distribution
- Is given leadership with the permission of those being led
- Has followers who are doing so voluntarily
- Does not always have titular rights or authority
- Is not always held accountable for a group’s performance
- Can be transient and temporary
- Is primarily concerned with the group’s objectives and member satisfaction
In conclusion, I'll leave you with this quote from author and motivational speaker, Brian Tracy: “Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position.”
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How would you define a leader versus a manager? Tell us in the comments!