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How your business operates will depend on the approach you take in motivating your employees. A leader possesses different characteristics from a manager, so the style you choose may depend on your own personality type and what you will expect from your employees. This overview points out some of the biggest differences between a leader and a manager, so you can decide which approach is best for you.

Vision Vs. Goals
A leader is more interested in encouraging their employees to share the same vision for the organization. They want employees who will be eager to make that vision a reality through their day to day actions. Alternatively, a manager is more interested in meeting daily goals, so they won’t spend that extra time to get everyone on the same page. Instead, they’ll assign daily tasks for their employees to complete.

Change Vs. Conformity
A leader will be eager to hear each employee’s ideas and concerns. In this situation, the leader is open to changing things if their employees feel their ideas are in the best interests of the organization. A manager doesn’t accept change easily, because the current system seems to work. Since a manager’s concern is focused on meeting quotas, they’re reluctant to make changes that could interfere with productivity.

Team Building Vs. Process Building
Because of the many benefits of team building, a leader will be interested in building teams that work well together. As the team’s relationships with one another grow stronger, they will work better together. Conversely, a manager is dedicated to the existing process. By assigning each employee to a specific task and encouraging the employees to focus on their individual duties, a manager ensures production efficiency goals are met on time. 

Overall, employees are eager to perform for a leader because they feel valued as members of the organization. They feel as though their contributions will be recognized, and their failures will help the team grow and learn. Managers don’t inspire loyalty or positive work environments. Instead, employees perform out of fear of punishment and only do as much as they’re required to do. As a result, leaders often have a lower turnover rate than managers, while managers experience decreased productivity.