Overseeing a set of employees is a massive task that can be very difficult. An organization often has strict policies and procedures in place and employees are expected to abide by these at all costs. Organizations hire managers to ensure that these policies are followed and that employees do their jobs efficiently. However, being a manager does not necessarily mean that this person is a leader. Here are some of the main differences between the two.

Short Term vs. Long Term Tasks

Leaders in the workforce are attentive to the future goals of employees as well as the organization as a whole. They care about where the organization is headed and focus primarily on how to evolve employees to reach those future goals. They are interested in employees’ wellbeing and wish to develop skills and abilities within each employee. Managers, however, are more focused on short-term problems such as solving day to day issues that arise, dealing with conflict among employees, and reprimanding employees who are not doing a respectable job.

The Status Quo Vs. Innovation

Leaders desire to come up with creative solutions to problems using processes that the organization has never used before. They seek to find answers that make the flow of the organization run better and they anticipate future problems that may arise while working to find a better path for the organization. Managers, however, desire to keep the organization as is without much disruption. They work to maintain how the organization is already running.

Minimizing Risk Vs. Risk-Taking

A manager seeks to minimize risk within the workforce as much as possible. They are given a task to manage a set of employees and they train employees to follow rules and policies set by the organization. Leaders, on the other hand, take more risks in hopes that greater outcomes will come of it. They want employees to use their creative minds and seek to find better ways to do things. Leaders see success as being attainable beyond its current state while managers see success as keeping things just the way they are. Managers play it safe.

Responsibility Vs. Accomplishment

When asked what one does for a living, how they portray this to others shows whether they are a leader or a manager. A leader describes their job in terms of what they want to accomplish not only on a day to day basis but for the future as well. A manager describes their job based on who and what they oversee on a daily basis.

People often confuse managers and leaders thinking that they are one and the same. However, a person can be a manager but not a leader if they are more focused on the short-term, daily issues that arise and focus more on ensuring employees are following rules rather than working on developing them for future endeavors. Leaders seek creativity and innovation in the workplace while managers want things to remain the same.