Manager or Leader: Which One Are You?

I remember a manager seeking me out for executive leadership coaching as he had been promoted. His goal was to shift his mindset and responsibilities to that of a leader.

In our first session, I explained the difference between a manager and a leader. We discussed the value of both but also how he could move into that leader role more quickly.

We also set 2 long-term goals to grow and focus his leadership capabilities and 2 short-term, 45-day goals.

You can do the same!

Here are common distinctions between a manager and a leader:
1. The manager administers, the leader innovates.
2. The manager maintains, the leader develops.
3. The manager accepts reality, the leader investigates it.
4. The manager focuses on systems, the leader focuses on people.
5. The manager has a short-range view, the leader has a long-range perspective.
6. The manager relies on control, the leader inspires trust.
7. The manager imitates, the leader originates.
8. The manager accepts the status quo, the leader challenges it.
9. The manager does things right, the leader does the right thing.
10. The manager asks how, the leader asks what and why.

Remember, organizations need both managers and leaders. However, in the midst of current challenges, obstacles, and restrictions with COVID-19, we need new kinds of leaders to step up and emerge.

Don’t get complacent or discouraged. Select two or three leadership functions to focus on.

“Everything rises or falls on leadership.”
John Maxwell

Here’s to leading not just managing,


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“The purpose of Leadership Quest is to help professionals develop their personal leadership, vision and emotional intelligence. Everyday I strive to help leaders and teams achieve their desired goals in sales productivity, leadership, time maximization, and life-balance. ”

About the Author

Steve Gutzler is the President of Leadership Quest, a Seattle-based leadership development company. Steve is a dynamic, highly-sought-after speaker who has delivered more than 2,500 presentations to a list of clients including Microsoft, Starbucks, the Seattle Seahawks, Pandora Radio, Boeing, Cisco, Starwood Corporation, the Ritz Carlton group, and the U.S. Social Security Administration. He recently was voted #1 by the readership of Huffington Post as the Most Inspirational Leader on Social Media.

A published author on leadership and emotional intelligence, Steve resides near Seattle with his wife Julie where they enjoy time with their three adult children and six grandchildren.