Expert advice on Business Leadership and tips on becoming a more effective Leader.

Leadership Lesson: The Difference Between a Manager and a Leader By Ken Sundheim

There is a big difference between managers and leaders. Managers are those who come to work, make sure all subordinates are getting the necessary tasks done, then leave at 5:00, never to really make a difference.

Managers sustain. They fail to upgrade their teams. They see no return in helping those under them grow personally or professionally.

Leaders are the ones who form and grow a company. Leaders try as much as possible to kill any bureaucracy and allow each member of their team to speak their mind. Leaders know that collaboration keeps employees engaged. It makes them feel important.

The best persuasion skill to get someone to do something is to get them to want to do it. Leaders make employees want to come to work every day. They create a sense of urgency and execution within the group, thus making them industry leaders.

While managers are often afraid to make their teams better, carrying a thought process that one could take their job, leaders are afraid not to better their teams, since bettering the team prevents turnovers and moves an organization forward.

Managers will sit in a boardroom and waste time conversing about topics that have been beaten to death. Leaders know that this is a waste of time. Leaders are busy conveying their vision to those under them and getting them to buy into it.

Managers are afraid to be wrong, ever clinging onto their job and hiding in between cubicles, spending the day writing emails back and forth to other managers. There is no concrete action behind these emails, only ideas that never get implemented because they could result in negative attention on the management team.

When something goes wrong, managers are quick to point the finger and cultivate an organization full of “It Wasn’t Me” folks. There is always an answer why something went wrong and it is never them. Leaders take responsibility for their actions. They hold their subordinates accountable for their work and they are no exception to the rule.

Managers micromanage, overseeing every minute detail. Leaders allow for new ideas to be implemented and feel the reward is worth the risk. When a manager attempts to train, he or she is met with skepticism, as their subordinates feel that they are only it in for themselves.

Subordinates trust leaders. They know that the leader has their best interest at heart.

How do you know you’re working for a leader? Under his or her guidance, you’re slowly becoming a leader yourself.
Ken Sundheim is the President and Founder of KAS Placement, a sales and marketing executive search firm based out of New York City. Ken’s writing has been featured or syndicated in most major news sources such as,, and many more. You can read more of Ken’s articles at his blog – KAS Write

-what do you think of the ideas above? What are some other essential leadership skills?

  • happyHenry

    Interesting post but you ahve built up a sterotype of a manager that has little truth. There are people who micromanage, waste time at meetings, care little about their organisations etc.nnBut good managers in general are crucial in any organisation and play a vital role in supporting their people, valuing them and making them feel good. Management is not a dirty word and should not be used as a description of negative behaviour.

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You may some great points. I think one of the main points is that while lots of folks gain the level of manager, whom might have attained that position, they unfortunately lack the skills that make a leader (great leaders can be found at virtually all levels — up and down any company).nnThanks for your thoughts and feedback. I hope you’ll continue to be a part of our community here and contribute.nnAppreciatively,nJosh